Comment Rescue: Once More, with Feeling

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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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  1. Avatar Ethan Gach
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    says:

    Dear Jason, I agree with just about every one of the *compromised* policies you lay out above.

    ***
    End the War on Drugs.
    Empty the prisons of nonviolent drug offenders.
    For the hard stuff, do like Portugal did, and adopt a public health approach.

    End the War on Terror.
    Rescind the president’s free-floating warmaking power,
    Bring the troops home and put these smart, talented people to work in the United States instead, in the private sector.

    Close Gitmo and the secret prisons, end the extraordinary renditions, the military commissions, and the assassinations.

    Let the court system do the job it was intended to do, to separate the guilty from the innocent the best we know how.

    Simplify the tax code, simplify zoning and land use requirements, simplify occupational licensing and business regulations. (Note: here is likely to be where we disagree. But only in terms of what “simplify” ultimately ends up meaning–that is, I’m totally for all of these things in theory, even if we disagree in how that should shake out in practice, which isn’t too bad really).

    Shorten copyright and patent terms, and restrict the range of patentable “innovations.”
    ***

    If I could get half of those things, I would give up ACA in a heartbeat (which is why I didn’t vote for Obama).

    Of course, since we agree on most of these things, it’s unlikely we’ll ever have much reason to discussm them, which is why it might appear that we spend more time disagreeing about, say, the nature of “rights,” and the merits of negative income taxes.Report

    • Avatar Roger in reply to Ethan Gach
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      says:

      Ethan and Jason (and Jaybird),

      Everyone knows I lean classical liberal, and obviously have no love of a war on drugs. However, I am not sure a free market in crack, heroin or meth leads to a better world. My guess is the optimal approach is somewhere in between.

      That said, what has Portugal done that you are recommending?Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Roger
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        says:

        This.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roger
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        says:

        It’s more that I see this being a complaint about everclear in a market where beer and wine are not legal.

        I deeply suspect that if there is a real market for beer and wine, the market for everclear will collapse. Yes, there will still be some people who drink it, but a lot fewer… and, I suspect, fewer than find it a viable choice in a market where beer, wine, and pretty much all alcohol have spotty distribution, spotty dealers, and spotty availability.Report

        • Avatar Roger in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Thanks guys. I support Portugals decriminalization of use. Totally.

          It still appears they have a war on distributers though.

          Another point. In a free markets anyone selling an addictive substance like crack or meth should be subject to lawsuits for gross negligence. When my kid died from overdose, I would sue them for everything they have. Where would this system end?Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Roger
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            says:

            “In a free markets anyone selling an addictive substance like crack or meth should be subject to lawsuits for gross negligence.”

            It’s just like how Jack Daniel’s was sued out of existence after–oh wait, they’re still in business and doing great? Welp.

            Or maybe it’s like how we still have so many people going blind from drinking methanol or formaldehyde–oh, that’s the barest fringe of problems, both by percentage and by absolute numbers? Um.Report

            • Avatar Roger in reply to DensityDuck
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              says:

              Not sure what your point is. Jack can be drunk responsibly. Do you agree that we should be able to sue marketers of highly addictive drugs? If not, how do you recommend handling them?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Roger
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                says:

                “Jack can be drunk responsibly.”

                Just like crack can be smoked responsibly.

                “Do you agree that we should be able to sue marketers of highly addictive drugs?”

                Just in case you’re honestly not getting it: No, I don’t agree, because “highly addictive” applies to a lot more than drugs. Should we also sue Cisco because people spend lots of time on the Internet?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                Just like crack can be smoked responsibly.

                The evidence doesn’t show that.

                However, we can probably get agreement that decades-old laws that based the severity of mandatory sentencing on whether they were being used by poor blacks (crack cocaine) or trust-fund teenagers and upper class rich folks and rock stars (powder cocaine) are probably wrong.

                Just like we can look back and on the basis of the marijuana laws being, in as many words, to target blacks and hispanics, say we should rethink that policy.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
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                says:

                MA,
                I have on good authority that a ton of highfalutin lawyers use crack responsibly (don’t hire one. they tend to be asses. find one that does pot instead).

                In NYC during the 80’s, crack was something that a LOT of people did, even your high flight folks. (talk to a few folks on dailykos, if youdon’t believe humble old me).

                It’s the same as booze or anything else. some people get screwed up, most don’t.Report

        • Avatar Roger in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I am not convinced that the world will be a better place if we can buy crystal meth at the local circle K.

          I am all for stopping the war on drugs. My guess is the better world exists somewhere in between where we are today and Needle Park.Report

  2. Avatar Dan Miller
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    says:

    Jason, I think the answer to “why do conservatives trust libertarians, while liberals don’t” is that both liberals and conservatives think that the economic issues where you guys side with the right–taxes, spending and health care are the big ones–are more important than the stuff where you agree with liberals. Which makes sense. When you look at the biggest political fights of the last 30 years, they revolve around just a few issues–health care, from Clinton’s proposal to Obamacare; tax cuts vs. tax increases (Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush); levels of government spending (basically nonstop, but especially the Gingrich Revolution, Tea Party, etc). The Iraq War would probably round out the list. But all the stuff you mentioned–copyright terms? Zoning? Even civil liberties and the drug war? I’d bet that most people, including the politically engaged, consider them less important than taxes, spending and entitlements. You can tell, because the political system spends a lot more time arguing about taxes/spending/entitlements than it does about almost any other subject besides a major war. If you side with conservatives on the stuff that government spends most of its time, money and attention on, liberals will feel a natural sense of disconnect even when it comes to issues on which we agree.

    I’m not 100% convinced of this thesis, but I think it has some good explanatory power.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Dan Miller
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      says:

      Also worth pointing out that until very recently, the prospect of national action on taxes/spending/health care was a lot more realistic than on the liberal/libertarian overlap zone.Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Dan Miller
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        says:

        That may be so. But I would rather free 100,000 drug offenders than cut marginal tax rates for 100,000 millionaires.

        I think both are increases in liberty, but there can’t be any serious dispute about their relative magnitude.Report

        • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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          says:

          I don’t think it’s indisputable. The top 100K taxpayers are (very roughly) equivalent to the top tenth-of-one-percent, which is a group of 137K tax returns, who earn about $1.5 million or more, according to Wikipedia. Of all the income taxes that flow into the Treasury, about 17% is paid by these folks, for a total of over $100 billion per year. That’s serious money, and adjusting it up or down by 50% would be a serious change. If the choice is “release 100K drug offenders, or fully fund insurance subsidies for that will provide coverage to 30 million people”, that’s a tough choice, at least for me.Report

          • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Dan Miller
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            says:

            (Or to do the equivalent from a libertarian perspective, “release 100K drug offenders, or reduce the burden of taxation by $50 billion per year”).Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Dan Miller
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              says:

              You’re suggesting — if I’m reading you correctly — that the rest of the nation gains in liberty when we tax the very richest.

              I’d disagree. I’d say the rest of us may gain in material holdings, but not in liberty.

              The richest people seem clearly to be coerced when they are made to pay higher taxes, but that coercion is tiny compared to what drug offenders experience when they’re thrown in prison. Yes, I know “how much coercion?” is a difficult question, and there aren’t units to measure it by. But some calls are easy, and this ought to be one of them.

              And anyway, we could trim $100 billion (or even a whole lot more) from our defense budget and still have a vastly larger and stronger military than anyone else, and a vastly larger and stronger military than we need. We should do that.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                I think there’s a good argument that taxing the richest more increases everyone else’s liberty.

                Firstly, even if we weren’t doing anything useful with that tax money, concentrations of wealth tend to produce concentrations of political power, since a very rich person has more ability to influence the political system (not just by supporting candidates, but by hiring expensive and skilled lawyers and lobbyists to push the political system towards actions that favour them). I would argue that a country with more income equality therefore has, all else equal, a higher degree of democracy. If you wanted to increase freedom while keeping revenues constant, increasing taxes on the very rich while lowering them on people with less income in a revenue-neutral way would be one method of doing so. (It would also increase overall well-being, since a poorer person gets more utility out of an additional dollar than a rich person, in keeping with economic theories on marginal utility.)

                Secondly, since we are in fact not taking that tax money and throwing it into the sea, it funds things that increase the freedom of others. Improving schools and funding universities increases access to quality education and thus the freedom to expand one’s skills, upgrade the quality of one’s labour, and thus increase one’s life opportunities. Increasing access to health care gives one increased freedom by increasing, though better health, their capacity to pursue whatever activities they choose. Improving public transit gives people who can’t afford or don’t want a car more freedom to get around.Report

              • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Democracy is anathema to liberty, at least on an individual by individual basis.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                Isn’t that just an instance of a truism: government is anathema to liberty?

                And isn’t the absence of government also anathema to liberty?

                Isn’t the trick to maximize liberty according to a certain metric?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Ethan Gach
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                says:

                It’s good to see “liberty” being discussed by liberals and libertarians.

                I think there’s a good argument that taxing the richest more increases everyone else’s liberty.

                OTOH, it gets frightening at times. This is FDR’s conflation of “freedom” with liberty, Freedom from Want, a perversion of the concept of liberty.

                The argument for liberty is that’s it’s a self-evident good, or at least a utilitarian one. Otherwise it’s just one more civil commodity. “Freedom from Want” comes with beaucoup strings attached, and it should.

                God bless the child who’s got his own. That is liberty.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Freedom from Want, a perversion of the concept of liberty.

                Oh really?

                Someone who can act to create a small business, clear from fear that one simple illness can utterly destroy them financially because they won’t have health insurance if they quit their day job to start the business, has liberty in that sense?

                Someone who’s living hand-to-mouth, caught in the (relative) expense of living poor, has the same liberty as someone living middle class or higher?

                No. That’s where strict-libertarianism falls down. It fails to look at the scope of ensuring a maximum amount of liberty for ALL parties and ignores the problems, coercive forces and diminishment of liberty created when liberty for the upper end is maximized first.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                You’re using the same words like “liberty” and “freedom” but the meanings are a universe apart. What you describe isn’t liberty atall, each of us in thrall to each other via the state.

                What you describe is nice and might even be desirable, but it is not liberty.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                You’re using the same words like “liberty” and “freedom” but the meanings are a universe apart.

                Exactly, but I’m using real meanings that apply in the real world.

                God bless the child who’s got his own. That is liberty.

                To paraphrase: “FYIGM.”Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                I’m not a libertarian, but you just showed the absurdity of these “discussions.” Liberals simply do not discuss liberty in any meaningful fashion, and libertarians just want to be liked by the liberals who despise them so tend to avoid the concept as well.

                Liberty as a self-evident good that enhances human dignity and eudaemonia, and as a utilitarian good ala the “invisible hand” and the self-organizing system is the essential way for the libertarian to argue, not mere indictment of the status quo.

                For the modern liberal, the irony is his emphasis more on the “order” part of the “ordered liberty” part of the classical liberal equation, for “fairness” as a cardinal civic virtue is achievable only by near-total coercion and imposition of a new “order.”

                At least the conservatives are unapologetic about the “order” part, and indeed are far more libertarian in the economic liberty department, willing to trade a bit of unfairness for the robust economic plenty created by true liberty, as opposed to the constipating quality of FDR’s version of “freedom.”

                God bless the child who’s got his own. That is liberty.

                Like it or not.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Liberals simply do not discuss liberty in any meaningful fashion,

                No, we discuss it in quite meaningful fashion, it’s you who perverts the meaning. Liberal thought is about maximizing liberty for all concerned, which often means assisting those who are economically so far down the ladder that their liberty is curtailed by other forces.

                Liberty as a self-evident good that enhances human dignity and eudaemonia, and as a utilitarian good ala the “invisible hand” and the self-organizing system is the essential way for the libertarian to argue, not mere indictment of the status quo.

                Oh goody. Magical Market Fairies.

                the irony is his emphasis more on the “order” part of the “ordered liberty” part of the classical liberal equation

                Not in the slightest. I’m concerned with liberty, the ability of each person to act with maximum agency and choice. EACH, not just the fish-holes at the very top.

                for “fairness” as a cardinal civic virtue is achievable only by near-total coercion and imposition of a new “order.”

                Your premise is invalid. Fairness does not require maximal coercion and imposition of “new order”, it requires a set of rules and an appropriate enforcement of those rules.

                The problem with your entire theory is that you want to create a system that is not and cannot be self-stabilizing. Libertarianism’s magical market fairies can only move the ball one way, towards a situation of maximal disparity.

                The entire tenet of Liberalism is to create a situation tending towards, not away from, stability. The system returns to the same level, hopefully an appropriate and sustainable level, of disparity which maximizes liberty throughout the system.

                Libertarianism and “free market faeries” conservatism create a system of absolute instability; it cannot hold.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Freedom from Want, a perversion of the concept of liberty.

                The argument for liberty is that’s it’s a self-evident good

                Freedom from Want (as FDR meant it) sure strike me as a self-evident good. I think everyone should be free from want. Don’t you?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Stillwater,

                I don’t think it’s self-evident. I think it’s a desire, not an a priori right. That is, I don’t think any of us can make a claim on others to provide us with what it takes to be free from want. That’s the essential problem libertarians have with positive liberties. Negative liberties don’t demand that you do anything for me, they just demand that you leave me the fish alone. So they don’t give me a claim on you. Positive liberties demand that you do something for me; they do give me a claim on you. It’s that idea that any of us can make such a claim on others that libertarians reject.

                Without trying to argue that you should agree with me on it, I think that’s a pretty fundamental level difference between liberals and libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Stillwater said it was a self-evident good not a right. I don’t think I can argue with that.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Well, do you think libertarians would argue that it’s not a good in its own right? But if the question is whether it’s relevant to liberty, that’s a lot less self-evident, isn’t it?Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Katherine,

                I would suggest that the income tax should be set up impartially to reduce the inherent tendency for people to lobby congress as winners and losers. Asking someone else, especially someone who pays WAY more than their proportionate share today, to pay more, seems inherently antagonistic. Said another way, I think it is immoral or at least dangerously leaning toward abuse for me to demand that someone else pay more for collective benefits. I suspect a bad dynamic.

                Instead I would argue for something like a set tax of 25% of all wages subject to a large personal deduction, of lets say $25,000. This would make the income tax both progressive and more fair. We could then argue about raising or lowering the rate for everyone or the deduction, but stop the rationalizing, demonizing and politics of envy that we have today.

                I also believe that higher incomes left in personal hands leads to private capital investments. Thus the argument for more money for public goods is coming out of more money for private goods, which is invested substantially more efficiently than public spending.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Roger
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                says:

                (Jumping in mid-thread so I apologize if I am off base but, here goes…)

                I have a theory that all tax rates should change proportionally. An example…

                Assume three tax brackets, 10%, 20%, and 30%.

                Taxes need to be raised. Everyone’s tax RATE goes up 10%. So 10% becomes 11%, 20% becomes 22%, and 30% becomes 33%. Everyone pitches in more, a relatively equal amount.

                But then taxes can be dropped. Everyone’ tax RATE goes down 20%. So 11% becomes 8.8%, 22% becomes 17.6%, and 33% becomes 25.4%.

                The ideas behind it:
                A) Everyone’s taxes go up or down together. This also means it is REALLY important to get those initial brackets/rates correct.
                B) It remains progressive.
                C) No one must lose so that others gain. I’m not raising YOUR taxes so I can LOWER mine. We’re ALL having our taxes go up or down; it’s just that if you make more, yours goes up more or down more, etc.

                Now, there might be mathematical reasons this breaks down and I’m sure folks can poke all sorts of holes in it but, assuming we can get the basic brackets in order (and I don’t suggest 10/20/30 as realistic brackets), I see no reason not to strive to lower or raise everyone’s taxes together.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Kazzy,

                I like the spirit of what you say. It seems like a better approach.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Roger,

                Definitely some kinks to work through (including the basic math error up there… should be 26.4%) but the broader idea that most broad based changes should be universal is a sound one.

                My solution to the debt ceiling “crisis” was that, absent an ability to come up with a sustainable solution, everyone’s taxes go up X% and everyone’s spending gets cut Y%. Apolitical, yes, and not necessarily fair but, hey, if we’re all fucking up, we all pay the costs. A “We’re all in this together” mentality works both ways.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                K,

                I like the way we all get in the same boat.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Congrats Kazzy, you just outlined the Romney tax plan. But it’s good now, cause a liberal thought of it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Ward,

                Did Romney have a tax plan?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                This isn’t funny.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                The problem with this is that static costs and minimum costs move more than the costs for the upper level.

                Where would you move the line? If economic indicators said to move it 3%, but the static costs of living that everyone has to use (electrical bills, water, gas, basic food) went up by 5%, you’ve just screwed the poor.

                In fact, this is a lot of what’s been going on even now. The Bush tax cuts and EITC are interesting cases that haven’t kept up with inflation even as they made it so the right wing complainers can kvetch and whine about the percentage who pay no “income tax” (ignoring all the other very real taxes, many quite regressive, that are also paid).

                And all the while, this happens.

                A rising tide isn’t lifting all boats equally or even nearly equally; it’s only lifting the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else, in very real terms because the immense pull of those top 1% who are now controlling not just almost 20% of the income, but a much higher percentage of the raw wealth already collected in their hands, which crowds out and minimizes the purchasing power of the working hours of economic actors lower down.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Yes. invested in China. Are you okay with that?Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Asking someone else, especially someone who pays WAY more than their proportionate share today, to pay more, seems inherently antagonistic.

                The rich don’t pay “way more than their proportional share”. Their share of total tax payments is roughly proportional to their share of total income, and I think that’s excluding capital gains (which are taxed at a much lower rate, and which make a larger share of wealth people’s money) and sales taxes (which make up a larger share of lower-income people’s costs).

                Our economic system is not remotely impartial. The amount you make is not proportional to either the amount you work or the degree to which you contribute to society. The way the economic system is set up benefits certain people over others. Either that system can be completely deconstructed and a more equitable one set up, or as an inferior but less disruptive alternative, the people who benefit the most from the way the current one is set up should pay more into maintaining it in a way that’s at least minimally functional for everyone.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Katherine,

                The top one percent make 17% of total income and pay over double that share in income taxes. The top ten percent make 47% and again pay almost double that in share of income taxes. What data are you using?

                I suggest we pray they start making even more. Right now, you and I appear to be free riding on these people. If I write the thank you note, will you sign it?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Roger,
                you’re looking at weird data. You look at the top 1% of income tax payers, and then say, “look the rich pay a lot” — of course, you just made a tautology.
                I look at the 100,000 cap on SS & medicare, PLUS the capital gains “tax” and I say, “the megarich don’t pay jack shit.”

                Increase the cap on SS&medicare, and tax capital gains as income, and I’ll be a happy camper.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Once you throw in largely regressive state, local, and other taxes, the tax burden is actually remarkably flat. Also, if the top 1% had less of the total wealth in this country, they’d pay less taxes. To quote the ole’ Willie Sutton line, that’s where the money is.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                The top one percent make 17% of total income and pay over double that share in income taxes. The top ten percent make 47% and again pay almost double that in share of income taxes. What data are you using?

                The bottom 50% are earning a maximum of $33k/year. Doesn’t even matter if you are filing single-no-dependents at that point, you’re not making a lot of money and you are not going to pay a lot of taxes thereby.

                In 1986, the top 1% only took in 11% of the income. They’re sucking up more now than they did then.

                All you’ve done, Roger, is lie with numbers. You don’t want to discuss real income disparity, you don’t want to discuss the ever-growing problems that prevent mobility and that stagnated the earning power of most so that your happy upper crust can take ever more.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                What about if you include payroll, medicare, and sales taxes, Roger?Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Critics from the left,

                I stated that those making higher income pay a disproportionate share of the income tax today and thus it is problematic to ask them to pay an even higher income tax burden. It is antagonistic and reeks of envy. I supported the underlying fact when questioned.

                I also clearly suggested a process which is both fair and less antagonistic. Kazzy added on to the idea. Thus your comments on SS and such miss the point.

                Yes, we are all going to have to pay more taxes to pay for our inability to spend wisely. Let’s move forward in a way which doesn’t degrade into tax warfare and envy.

                Remember also, we depend upon the wealthy both for their taxes and for their reinvestments in the capital infrastructure that makes us well off. The wealthy are not in general making money by stealing it from others. They are creating wealth, and in most cases are enriching us via positive sum interactions. There are exceptions to this, but you an I already know what they are so please don’t bother snarking me with them.

                PS would you guys please help police MA? He embarrasses you.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Roger,
                MA’s rather upset. I was too when I got here. He does a better job of summoning facts than I did.
                I’d sacrifice a lot for a 90% inheritance tax. It’s not the entrepreneurs I worry about, it’s the Romney’s. The people who have never worked a day in their life (other than being a shyster)Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Would you guys please help police Roger? He embarrasses you.

                Yes, we are all going to have to pay more taxes to pay for our inability to spend wisely. Let’s move forward in a way which doesn’t degrade into tax warfare and envy.

                Ooh, I hit my Conservative Bullshit Bingo Card!

                “tax warfare and envy” – because after you add up the fact that the bottom 50% are making crap wages to start with, the fact that they are inordinately hit by regressive state taxation schemes and fees, the fact that they are inordinately hit by the broken medical system and regularly bankrupted should one member of a family have to spend even one night in a hospital, the fact that they live paycheck to paycheck…

                Remember also, we depend upon the wealthy both for their taxes and for their reinvestments in the capital infrastructure that makes us well off.

                And that makes them morally better? Hardly.

                There was plenty of reinvestment – arguably more – in the 1950s when tax rates were much, much higher than they are today. It is trivial to show that lower tax rates on the wealthy increase income disparity and thus, by decreasing the purchasing power of the lower rungs, cause there to be less jobs for those lower down on the ladder.

                Multiplier effect has shown time and again: tax cuts to the wealthy have a negative effect and suck money out of the economy, rather than encouraging economic activity.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Kim, why were you upset? Seems like a good forum to learn from others.

                I agree tax rates and SS need to go up, but I don’t feel right demanding Romney’s kids pay. Their inheritance is theirs, not Congresses. Furthermore I suspect they will do more good with it than the average congress person.

                Do you guys not see the dangers of asking, no strike that, demanding that someone else pays more? Someone who already pays more? Do you not see the benefits of what your fellow leftie Kazzy suggests as a more collectively responsible way is?

                Let me put it another way. If some of us can get government goodies while passing the bill to others, we are going to establish a self destructive dynamic. I find this approach distasteful and counterproductive.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Would you guys please help police Roger?

                THIS IS HOW LIBERALS ACTUALLY THINKReport

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Jaybird, I’ve provided sources, you’ve provided… what, exactly?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Roger,
                I actually agree with you. That’s why I advocate against 0% capital gains taxes.
                The most inventive people I know aren’t wealthy, though they’ve started a lot of businesses/non-profits/collaborations.

                As to why I was angry? I still am, actually.

                Watching smart people die even with insurance, because they couldn’t afford to actually get diagnosed with anything. And then watching people whimper and whine about how Obamacare infringes on their freedom.

                Watching economic terrorists (Bush’s treasury sec’s term not mine) stage a takeover of congress, and threaten to collapse our entire economy, not to mention Breton Woods II!

                And I’m not even going to get into the stuff of a more personal nature, other than to state that grassroots is not astroturf.

                Watching everyone who wasn’t part of the elite lose money, lose their retirements, as the elite made a profit? Gets me steamed.

                Watching people sing the praises of a vulture capitalist conman who’s never had to deal with contradictory opinions? Gets me steamed.

                So pardon us if folks like MA and me want to shout and be a little unproductive. It’s called stress relief.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh… I didn’t see how Roger pulled that card out first.

                I apologize, M.A.

                Roger: Don’t pull that crap.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                MA,
                Jay’s providing a JOKE, intended to defuse hostilities.
                I suggest you laugh, it was quite funny to me.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger you’re fighting the good fight, but your opponents have zero concept of Queensbury rules. Being “liberals” they can and will claim the moral high ground while simultaneously kicking you in the nuts. It is an old song, what with the one note and all.

                Meantime to deconstruct all the crap in here let’s look at some other stats.

                1) More than 3 million Sub S filers today, a number which has been growing every year since the designation was first modified. Hence digging up old statistics won’t help because they refer to a time before the Sub S corp existed in its current guise. There was a time when it would have been absolutely INSANE to organize as a Sub S corp because the tax laws totally attacked high income earners. When Reagan turned that around intelligent people flocked to the “new” designation.

                2) 137K “millionaire” filers are made up of 112,340 Sub S filers representing over 20,000,000 EMPLOYEES. Let’s hammer the Sub S owners so they can get rid of those stinking employees and see how high our taxes get. Whoops.

                3) Raising tax rates is not an algebraic formulation. Because businesses and individuals modify their behavior accordingly. Therefore saying, “We’re taking in $100B today, let’s raise the tax 50% and we’ll have $150B tomorrow” has NEVER worked. But since the definition of insanity is trying the same thing again and again expecting a different result, well it is no wonder the libs embrace such a mechanism.

                4) Stealing from Peter to pay Paul will invariably result in the support of Paul. A neat summary of our last and all future elections. We have already crossed the threshold between the makers and the takers Roger and you’re arguing against ignorance and blindness in the way of the world. The only “equality” possible will be when everyone is “equally” miserable and poor. Except the plutocrats “managing” things, they’ll manage like the plutocrats in China to accumulate vast wealth, all the while claiming they have the best interests of the plebeians at heart.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                Once you throw in largely regressive state, local, and other taxes, the tax burden is actually remarkably flat.

                The regressivity of state and local taxes is a myth, largely an artifact of the fact that income tends to vary far more over the course of a lifetime than consumption. If we were to look at the relationship between lifetime income and lifetime payment of state and local taxes, it would likely be somewhat progressive. It only looks regressive on an annual basis because people who are spending down their savings, like retirees, have no income but pay sales and property taxes.

                And can we please stop with this “Social Security is regressive” bullshit? If it’s so regressive, then the you’re all in favor of abolishing it, right?

                I didn’t think so.

                The truth is that paying Social Security taxes isn’t like paying income taxes. When you pay Social Security taxes, the government credits you with the payment and increments your scheduled benefits accordingly. As the tax is capped, so are the benefits, and the formula is such that the less money you make, and the less you pay in, the better a deal it is for you.

                Until you’re ready to call for the abolition of Social Security, stop with the crocodile tears.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                Kimmi,

                Can those of us trying to have a discussion get a list of those trying to pursue stress relief? Maybe we could get color coded name tags.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger,
                people who aren’t trolls tend to mix their stress relief with their actual content. you did it yourself upthread.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                “Secondly, since we are in fact not taking that tax money and throwing it into the sea, it funds things that increase the freedom of others. Improving schools and funding universities increases access to quality education and thus the freedom to expand one’s skills, upgrade the quality of one’s labour, and thus increase one’s life opportunities. Increasing access to health care gives one increased freedom by increasing, though better health, their capacity to pursue whatever activities they choose. Improving public transit gives people who can’t afford or don’t want a car more freedom to get around.”

                That’s an interesting concept — the more we tax rich people, the more freedom that generates for others. I suppose we haven’t taken enough from the rich, yet, since public education isn’t producing skillful, economically liberated students, and the more that government interferes with healthcare through Medicaid, the more doctors are turning down Medicaid, creating less access. Given how much government has spent already on education and healthcare, how much more do they need to take from the rich to generate this freedomn of which you speak? And, how much more public tansportation do we need? I see empty city buses riding all over this town.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’d be okay with more public transportation if people are kept waiting for hours because the buses are full? Because that’s what it looks like around here, on the college routes…
                ‘sides, everyone knows public transportation is cheaper than private vehicles (less road usage).Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to MFarmer
                Ignored
                says:

                That’s an interesting concept — the more we tax rich people, the more freedom that generates for others.

                Well, it’s true, if you mean “free” as in “free lunch.”Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                HAHAHA.
                Remind me to tell you about some of the free lunch that the rich folks get. In montana, where they build unmaintainable roads (like there’s any other kind?) solely for the purposes of giving a few people a better road out to a resort.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                I do believe America gains in liberty when we tax the very richest more than we tax the least of us. For one thing, it means that we can tax the very richest less.

                Having a robust social safety net means less stress for the lowest of us, which means better health outcomes. Which means we have to spend less on health care, which means that we can have the freedom to more efficiently allocate our economic dollars towards More Cool Stuff! (and everybody likes cool stuff, don’t they?)

                And the person who is suddenly able to catch a public bus to work has gained a lot of liberty, vis not being able to get to that job (or half a dozen others outside of walking distance).

                Would you support taxing the richest of us more, if I could show that it would increase liberty for the least of us?Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                I think the disagreement between Kim and Jason here points out a major fault line between libertarians and liberals. When libertarians insist on a rigid negative liberty, liberals immediately start to wonder whether libertarians aren’t just crypto-conservatives, defending privilege with the language of equality and liberty. It’s hard to think of what could be more frightening to a liberal.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                When libertarians insist on a rigid negative liberty, liberals immediately start to wonder whether libertarians aren’t just crypto-conservatives, defending privilege with the language of equality and liberty.

                I have ceased to wonder. There are no real Libertarians on this blog from what I can tell, just crypto-conservatives by your measure.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger will defend a social safety net, when the mood suits him (which, apparently, is not when he’s talking with you).
                I suspect his notion of what it is differs from yours, but it isn’t completely radically different.

                And if you needs must find a real Libertarian, I am at your service.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll ask you this then, Kim – I asked the question once way back when I first submitted a guest post long time ago, but you might not have been around.

                Is there, within (your concept of) libertarianism, a possibility of any scenario in which the restriction of “liberty” to one person or a few persons might serve to correspondingly increase liberty for many others?

                I ask this un-facetiously, as it’s one of my biggest complaints with Libertarianism; they will commit to never decreasing the “liberty” of someone who is already immensely high (through whatever means, legal or ethical or not-one or neither) on the economic ladder, while simultaneously insisting that the coercive forces those high on the economic ladder can bring to bear on those much lower down do not count as “true force” because “only government has a monopoly on force.”

                And this seems quite odd to me. “Liberty” is surely curtailed by many larger corporations, those who have become part of oligarchies or monopolies in their field, offering nothing but “take it or leave it” deals at increasingly tilted terms to truly individual actors. The fact that the best deals are reserved for the rich, while being poor can be extremely expensive when expressed as a percentage of what the poor’s income is, is ugly and harmful to society as a whole from where I see it.

                So: is there a point where we can say that yes, the “liberty” of those high on the food chain must be curtailed at least to some extent, in order to increase aggregate liberty throughout society?Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean, I appreciate when libertarians point out how government welfare measures can actually have a detrimental effect on the poor (e.g. Social Security taxing poor and middle classes but mostly funding middle-er class people who live to age 65), but it’s frustrating that this is so often accompanied by Pollyannaish beliefs that property rights are all you need. The libertarians here are pretty unwilling to theorize about structural poverty, and are instead content to wave it away.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t find that unreasonable. Particularly in a society where the rich have far more ability to leave it than the poor.

                And where do the rich flee from? Aruba, Bahamas, places without much in the way of limitations, back to places like Pittsburgh.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                The libertarians here are pretty unwilling to theorize about structural poverty, and are instead content to wave it away.

                Libertarian theory on poverty is that if we removed all government, removed all of what they see as “restrictions”, that somehow the Magical Market Fairies would make all problems go away.

                Take, for example, their insistence that minimum wage is “harmful.” It’s very intriguing to look at. They insist that if the floor price of labor were to be dropped, there would be more jobs – and I have to question what jobs they would be? If they’re expecting a deflationary effect on prices, that’s an economic disaster all its own. If they’re expecting that more people will come out of the work to take those “jobs”, working long hours a week at $4/hour while also working on today’s prices, we’ve just put more people on the poverty rolls anyways.

                The logic fails but that’ll never stop libertarians from insisting that the minimum wage is a “moral wrong” for “impinging on the liberty of the employer to offer whatever wage they want” or similar argumentation.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                MA,
                their theory is that these people will be teenagers, and not newly divorced “outof the workplace for ten years” single moms. And that $4 an hour is better than zero, when your rent is free.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, I have more time for that kind of argument, M.A.. And I should have been more specific: libertarians are pretty unwilling to theorize about structural poverty outside the context of what they view as “government interference in the market”. Libertarians theorize plenty about how government actions can hurt poor people, and I think this is great and often accurate (there’s some pretty interesting empirical evidence about the minimum wage thwarting economic opportunities for the poor, actually).

                I’m just upset that libertarians stop there and don’t question the ways that government protection of property claims can have distorting effects of its own. I would like to see right-libertarians engage articles like this one, for example: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2154069Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                And where do the rich flee from? Aruba, Bahamas, places without much in the way of limitations, back to places like Pittsburgh.

                I can’t tell if that was meant facetiously or not.

                Currently, there’s a great “sucking sound” in many of the communities in the US. Communities where median income doesn’t meet a certain threshold continually have what little value’s there sucked out of them.

                Going and visiting an older, mostly-black neighborhood in my city, I’m amazed at how many otherwise well-built houses have patched-broken windows and are desperate for a coat of paint. Why? Because the folks living in those houses are mostly elderly. The majority of them didn’t have much income to start with and scraped and saved to get that house and try to do better for their kids. For some it kind of worked, for some it didn’t.

                Try out the same sort of people in a smaller town, where Wal-Mart moved in? Many of them are doing the same job in Wal-Mart that they used to do running the local feed store, the local gas station, the local grocery. The difference? Wal-Mart is paying half the wage and pocketing the rest, a lot less stays local and the few people in town that don’t work at Wal-Mart just making ends meet are now the only people who may have any non-subsistence wages left.

                Ask them why the neighborhood appearance is down? Fixed incomes, the fact that it was the house or the savings but not both. Can’t afford the cans of paint, much less some money to hire someone with a stronger back who can handle the physical labor and time; a 70-year-old woman or man has trouble holding up to the day of painting (not to mention potentially needing access to a 25ft ladder if the house is 2-story).

                It’s not a pride issue, nor are they lazy – many of these people look far older than they are because of how hard they worked and how hard they sacrificed in their younger days.

                Libertarians think these people “got what’s coming to them”, that it’s a natural “market forces” problem. Market forces aren’t going to fix this shit, market forces NEVER fix this shit.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Not facetious at all, MA. I keep my eyes open.
                After all, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy lives
                just a handful of blocks from me.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Hey, Robert Greer

                government protection of property claims can have distorting effects of its own

                I downloaded that paper and started reading it – um, could you save me some time and point me to a page where this is discussed in relatively concrete terms? Up to page 7 it was pretty abstract and I couldn’t see the connection….Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim, not if you have a Skype phone number. Then you get those calls. And how.

                (Well, we have Ooma and not Skype, but I suspect it to be about the same as far as that goes.)Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                When libertarians insist on a rigid negative liberty, liberals immediately start to wonder whether libertarians aren’t just crypto-conservatives,

                Pretty funny, considering that negative liberty was originally a liberal idea.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                If I may, I just read a student paper saying that in China, all children have a right to a compulsory education. That’s a pretty accurate depiction of how liberals often appear–to me–to think.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you really think that this is how dumb or self-contradictory liberalism is?

                Maybe you are more extreme than I thought. (I thought you were in favor of some market regulation, say for large markets, for example.)

                Or maybe you are joking or making a point that I don’t get?

                It seems to me, though, that you’re sending out the sort of attack at liberalism that I think that you don’t think is fair when it is levelled at libertarianism.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Eh, the socioeconomic landscape is a lot different now than in the time of the classical liberals. It’s easy to argue that modern American liberalism is consistent with the concerns and ideals of classical liberals, albeit tweaked for a different environment.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                It seems to me, though, that you’re sending out the sort of attack at liberalism that I think that you don’t think is fair when it is levelled at libertarianism.

                Funny how that suddenly bothers you.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m trying to be conciliatory.

                Lord, I’m trying.

                Your claim makes me think Libertarians -even the putative moderates- sometimes talk like extremists. “Anyone who wants regulation of markets, protections for unions, forcing polluters t pay for externalities, a equality of opportunity (construed broadly), and any kind of progressive taxation believes in crazy things like “a right to be compelled.” Down with all regulations and all liberalism! Destroy the new deal, don’t just modify it!

                I know you don’t think all of that (do you?), but the attack on liberalism seems to be an attack on any attempt to justify moderate policies.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Shazbot,

                What distinguishes an over-the-top comment about liberals by a libertarian from an over-the-top comment about libertarians by a liberal?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Look, it’s just this simple. Libertarians take a dim view of government. Liberals don’t. We’re never going to reconcile this dispute: the power to help is also the power to harm. It’s just power, as abstract as the forces of nature. It’s a matter of who holds power and how it’s used.

                The Libertarians don’t understand what they’re asking for and the Liberals seem unwilling to acknowledge the nature of power itself. The Libertarian diktat against government is patently insane, taken in isolation. The Liberal trust in government is misplaced, taken in isolation. Libertarian trust in market solutions is idiocy, taken in isolation. Liberal mistrust of the power of capitalism to improve the world is equally stupid, again, taken in isolation.

                There is a synthesis, but I don’t see the Libertarians willing to offer any ground without a knock-down, drag-out fight. But mostly, I’m sick of the Libertarians constantly redefining every word in the dictionary to suit their purposes. That which annoys us in others annoys them in us. Either we’re going to come to terms, literally, and admit men are not angels, in which case we do need government — or we’re going to go round and round this prickly pear, only growing angrier at each other’s insistence on definitional constraint.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “Either we’re going to come to terms, literally, and admit men are not angels, in which case we do need government — or we’re going to go round and round this prickly pear, only growing angrier at each other’s insistence on definitional constraint.”

                I admit men are not angels, and I also admit that government is filled with men and women who are not angels. When these men and women who are not angels are given power to control all the rest of us who are not angels, we get corruption, authoritarianism and incompetence. When we create limits on government power, retaining the power to enforce rational laws that protect individual rights, because government is filled with men and women who are not angels, then we set the peaceful structure within which we can work together to solve problems to the best of our ability.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                Your first two paragraphs were great; I’m in perfect agreement. Then in the third you shift to laying the blame all at the feet of the libertarians again.

                For a while there, I thought we actually were making progress.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                When we create limits on government power, retaining the power to enforce rational laws that protect individual rights,

                I wonder how many liberals will actually notice that a libertarian is explicitly arguing for giving government power to enforce laws, and how many will ignore this and continue to repeat the refrain that libertarians are simply opposed to government, period.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I did say that which annoys us in others, etc. You can cast aspersions on my goodwill but I’m telling you plainly, we’re either going to arrive at common definitions or we’ll be forever talking past each other. I wrestled with you about the definitions of markets. You didn’t give an inch. You’re going to believe the cleaner fish are running a market no matter what I say or what the dictionary says.

                And while you continue in this, you’re part of the problem. Maybe we can just call my linear function wherein risk varies directly with the need for regulation the BlaiseP Function. Below a certain threshold, we enter the Hanley Limit, wherein no regulation is needed.

                Until you Libertarians can come to terms with your constant and ongoing problem with specious redefinitions of everything, you’re lost souls. I’m offering you a chance to recognise this is a problem. Either accept it or reject it, as it suits you.Report

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

                But mostly, I’m sick of the Libertarians constantly redefining every word in the dictionary to suit their purposes. – BlaiseP

                God bless the child who’s got his, for that is liberty. – TvD

                I say again: Libertarians pervert the meaning of the word liberty.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you aware that TvD doesn’t call himself a libertarian? And that we libertarians would agree, he isn’t?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                Set aside the cleaner fish for a moment. For the sake of discussion, I’ll drop that as an example; I’ll give that one to you.

                Here’s my issue. I gave a definition of the market that came right out of the dictionary. And then you claim I am redefining the word, without regard for the dictionary. You, on the other hand, never gave a specific definition, and disagreed with the definition I pulled from a dictionary.

                Can you see why this troubles me?Report

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

                the power to enforce rational laws that protect individual rights

                Defined by the Libertarians as “thou shalt not impinge one iota on the liberty of the privileged rich.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                We’re fortunate that we have M.A. to tell us Muslims libertarians what we really believe. Now we need to just stop lying and admit that we actually are all terrorists really do love the rich and want to help them screw over the poor.Report

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

                The problem with you talking in code, Hanley, is that you started and now we have to assume everything you say is in the standard libertarian code.

                I don’t think any of you are really libertarians no matter what you call yourselves. Crypto-conservatives is about right.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                When we create limits on government power, retaining the power to enforce rational laws that protect individual rights, because government is filled with men and women who are not angels, then we set the peaceful structure within which we can work together to solve problems to the best of our ability.

                Sure, not-angels game and abuse the government. The thing is, when you substitute the market for government, and they abuse the market, too! Perhaps if people actually were rational utility maximizers, this wouldn’t be a problem because the market would fix it. The thing is, people aren’t, even people whose job it is to be!

                Look at the post up-thread about the derivatives market and the kind of destruction that unregulated greedy behavior caused. These markets had all of the credit evaluation, short selling, and other market-based mechanisms in place libertarians say will prevent this problem. And yet, it didn’t.

                Most people are really bad at understanding risk, or think that it doesn’t apply to them, even people whose job it is to understand risk!. People who understand risk better can (and do) use this to their advantage to become fabulously wealthy, but it generally hasn’t enough to prevent that behavior from happening.

                That’s why liberals *want* a hybrid system with a well-regulated market. We’ve seen the destruction unregulated markets cause because the people’s inability to really understand risk. We’ve seen plenty of government failures, too, be it of central planning or other governmental systems. So we’ve settled on using market mechanisms when possible and regulating them to make sure risk in them is well managed.

                I actually think that many libertarians probably agree, but when they spend so much time talking about the evils of government and so little time recognizing the shortcomings of markets, it’s sometimes hard to tell.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Here are the societies that seem to be doing really well, by my way of thinking:

                Australia
                Canada
                Hong Kong
                New Zealand
                Singapore
                Switzerland
                United States

                Which one is a “third world” country? (Is this some kind of liberal code?)Report

              • Avatar Crypto-James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                M.A., all I can say is that it’s a good thing we pseudo-libertarians have you around to determine who is and isn’t a real libertarian. You’ve done us a great service through your ability to understand us better than we understand ourselves.

                And to think that I was so foolish that I didn’t realize that supporting SSM, decriminalization of all drugs, and to our policy of invading every country that thumbs their nose at us, and elimination of subsidies for big corporations are actually all conservative policies.

                Wow. It’s so good to start the day off with a hefty dose of enlightenment.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                When you say “end corporate subsidies,” you really mean “support corporate subsidies.”

                Just like we learned earlier — when you say “Kelo was awful” you really mean “Hooray for Kelo!”

                War is peace, freedom is slavery. That kind of thing.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                The thing is, Hanley, when MA interprets MFarmer’s language that way, you have to understand that that’s probably how it comes across to most people who’ve spent time talking politics with libertarians. (And no, I’m not saying MA is representative of the average person or average liberal. Thankfully.)

                So much libertarian talk of government is focused *just* on enforcing property laws and contracts as opposed to other things that we need government for, for example regulating markets, that non-specific talk about government law enforcement still comes across as “make sure I get to keep my stuff”.Report

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

                elimination of subsidies for big corporations

                Quick question:

                Are you aware that most big corporation subsidies come in the form o f tax breaks or tax exemptions?

                Are you, or are you not, in favor of lowering corporate tax rates and capital gains rates both?

                “I’m not for subsidizing corporations I’m just for taxing them less”, which is the usual Libertarian line, is just doubletalk.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Kinsella is making a narrow, federalist case. He’s also knowingly being a contrarian, much like the occasional leftie who opposes gay marriage. That’s why he’s got these very, very severe qualifiers right up front:

                The one uncontroversial aspect of this case is that takings of private property by governments — whether at the State or federal level — are unjustified. Period. Takings are flat-out theft. States claim to have the power to seize private property under so-called “eminent domain” or condemnation proceedings. However, such power is usually conditioned on or limited by at least two other requirements: (a) that the taking be for public use (and not merely to benefit some private party); and (b) that the taking be compensated by paying the “fair market value” for the property to the owner. If the taking is uncompensated, or not for public use, it is viewed as illegal.

                What is the libertarian view on takings? In my opinion, anarcholibertarians and minarchists alike should all oppose the state’s power to condemn private property, by recognizing that it is theft and therefore unjustified.

                I understand his federalist argument against Kelo as a decision on purely procedural (not substantive) grounds, but I disagree. By far the most common opinion among libertarians is the one shared by Randy Barnett, Richard Epstein, Ilya Somin, the Libertarian Party, the Institute for Justice, the Cato Institute, and many others. Kelo was an appallingly bad decision.

                The fact you can find one or two voices dissenting just proves we’re a group of individuals. Not much more than that.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you aware that most big corporation subsidies come in the form o f tax breaks or tax exemptions?

                When I recommended eliminating those, you said you didn’t believe me and that it was “bullshit.”

                Are you, or are you not, in favor of lowering corporate tax rates and capital gains rates both?

                Not right now.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                @ James, there’s no need to abandon the cleaner fish. We put them below the Hanley Limit, which I’ll attempt to define as a symbiotic and self-regulating relationship.

                But even in nature, there’s an attempt to game that system: there’s a species of blenny fish which impersonates the cleaner fish: the unsuspecting grouper who comes to the cleaner fish’s market floor opens his mouth for a nice cleaning, only to have this bastard blenny fish bite a chunk out of the grouper.

                Caveat Grouper.

                Here’s a more elaborate definition of a market:

                A market is how a product or service flows from producer to consumer. Someone has to want a product. Some will have the resources to obtain that product. The product must conform to some mutually-agreed-upon set of standards: sell-by dates on gallons of milk, weights and measures.

                Buyers and sellers must also conform to standards, both internal, as in being a member of an exchange, with validated credentials and confirmed margin accounts, or external standards, such as legal requirements for lawyers, banks, physicians and the like.

                But the most important aspect of risk markets and concomitant regulation is the separation of buyer and seller. Markets close at the end of day or upon agreed upon limit swings, buys are matched with sells, accounts are settled, disputes put to arbitration, cheaters arrested or expelled, everything we’d expect from rational markets, all to ensure winners win and losers lose.

                But the cleaner fish, beer for lawn mowing, kids running a lemonade stand, that sort of thing, how much regulation is required? Very little, if any. And why? Because there’s very little risk. These are all below the Hanley Limit.

                The Libertarian shibboleths about government, constantly presuming the worst of regulators, are incoherent. If regulators and judges are corrupted, who corrupts them? Those who would pervert the separation of winners from losers. In point of fact, when Singapore went about eliminating corruption in bureaucracy, their first step was to pay the regulators enough money to remove the temptation of corruption.

                Even government obeys market principles. That’s the last nail in the coffin of the Libertarian Diktat.

                Over-regulation damages markets and faith in government, such as we see with officious little bureaucrats shutting down lemonade stands and making little kids cry. In such an example, we see a transgression of the Hanley Limit. Likewise, all these insane drugs laws fill our prisons: yet another violation of the Hanley Limit: drugs should be merely regulated and not prohibited.

                But some transactions should be prohibited. I really don’t want to hear anyone defend the sale of nuclear weapons to terrorists.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                For discussion purposes I can accept most of that, except your insistence upon focusing on winners and losers. In market exchanges there normally aren’t losers. That’s the positive sum win-win. Even in a stock trade there’s usually not a loser in the sense of the winner having beaten the loser. If I buy a stock expecting the price to rise, and instead it falls, yes, I’ve lost. But the person who sold it to me didn’t take advantage of me and didn’t beat me–they just made a more accurate prediction than I did.

                This really does work as a roadblock to communication, because it at least appears that we view markets as very different things. Where I see them as effective means for you and I to both improve our standing through a value-for-value trade, I get the impression that you see them as a competition in which someone necessarily wins at the expense of the someone who necessarily loses.

                And yet you support markets over communism wholeheartedly, so far as I can tell, so that understanding of markets doesn’t seem reflective of what you really think. So I’m not saying you do view markets as zero-sum exchanges; I’m only saying you often give that impression, but at other times you give a contradictory impression, so that in the end part of my problem in communicating with you is that I just don’t get what you’re actually saying.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Are you aware that most big corporation subsidies come in the form o f tax breaks or tax exemptions? …
                Are you, or are you not, in favor of lowering corporate tax rates and capital gains rates both?

                I don’t really care one way or the other about corporate tax rates. Corporate taxes are likely to just get passed on to the consumer anyway, to the extent the corporation can manage it, so I don’t see raising them or lowering them as having as much to do with how much we directly tax corporations as it is how much we indirectly tax consumers.

                But let me ask you this. If lowering corporate tax rates and cap gains rates were to be the necessary political price to pay to eliminate the tax breaks and tax exemptions, with the end result being that net corporate/capgains tax revenues are increased, would you take the deal?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                No losers? Surely you jest. Of course there are losers in markets. That’s why people try to cheat. To make any money, you need to buy low and sell high. With short sales the sell can precede the buy, but the rule’s the same.

                In a real market, you know, one beyond the Hanley Limit, the world I know, regulation makes sure I get a margin call and get stopped out of my positions when my margin reserves reach Zero Dollars. That’s called Losing. When I’m in the money and my counterpart suddenly claims he didn’t take my bet, that’s a problem. That guy made a bet and he lost and I am entitled to collect. Promises made must be promises kept, even if they don’t work out in my favour.

                Feel free to comment on anything below the Hanley Limit. Out here in the real world, where markets involve risk, this is my territory and I’d appreciate it if you’d accept the notion that Winners must be separated from Losers. Your 401K might make money or lose money. Your house might appreciate or depreciate. Quit living in the world where every market transaction is mutually beneficial: most aren’t.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “No losers? Surely you jest. Of course there are losers in markets.”

                You’re talking about two different things. In any market transaction, the buyer and seller are agreeing on an exchange. The buyer gives up what the seller wants in return for the seller giving him what he wants. If it wasn’t beneficial for both, then they wouldn’t be making the transaction. Two winners, no losers.

                Now, if it turns out that what the buyer bought loses value, then, yeah, you could call him a loser. But unless the seller had deceived him, it was a fair exchange at the time it was made. If what was bought lost value due to some sort of fraud, then yes, there’s an issue and we can talk winners and losers. But it’s logically incorrect to say markets require losers.

                When you buy in at the Blackjack table and then lose, are you really going to blame the casino?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                Once again you want to restrict the term “market” to the stock market. Color me bored with that game.

                As to your “losers,” that depends on how we define the term, right? They didn’t lose through an exchange that was unfair in any sense, they lost through making bad predictions. Of course they have to pay up, if that’s the rules of the game. Who here has ever argued against that?

                But that’s not the same as losing through an exchange, where you give me, say, $100 worth of value and I only give you $90 worth of value. You’re conflating different things which only serves to confuse the issue.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I would love to see Blaise or anyone agreeing with him answer James and Brian’s questions.

                There are no expected losers in a voluntary, non fraudulent market transaction. Both parties expected to improve their position compared to the base case. That is why they agreed to the exchange.

                Certainly every libertarian agrees people make mistakes, and later regret voluntary transactions in both the market and other domains. Certainly we agree that cheating or fraud cannot be allowed. The policing of cheating and coercion can come externally or internally, but absent controls for these factors, I will agree that you do not have a free market.

                So, can anyone agreeing with Blaise lay out a clear, honest rebuttal of this argument? It would be massively appreciated.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James,

                >But that’s not the same as losing through an exchange, where you give me, say, $100 worth of value and I only give you $90 worth of value. You’re conflating different things which only serves to confuse the issue.

                Okay, so my verizon bill. That’s an example of me paying out more than it’s value. I am getting ripped off with the transaction.Report

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

                Once again you want to restrict the term “market” to the stock market. Color me bored with that game.

                Friend of mine recently bought a used car from a dealership. Had it die completely two months after.

                Found out? The shady car dealership KNEW it had a busted head gasket. What did they do about it? They disabled the check-engine light (completely removed the bulb itself) and sold the car claiming it had no problems for $5000. Poof, they “win” and my friend loses.

                Is that another good example? The stock market is just one area where shady deals and bad actors go on.

                But let me ask you this. If lowering corporate tax rates and cap gains rates were to be the necessary political price to pay to eliminate the tax breaks and tax exemptions, with the end result being that net corporate/capgains tax revenues are increased, would you take the deal?

                If that were the case – not that it is – then that’s a deal I’d be hard-pressed not to take.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                “Okay, so my verizon bill. That’s an example of me paying out more than it’s value. I am getting ripped off with the transaction.”

                Then why are you doing business with Verizon?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Brian,
                1) It’s a quasi monopoly
                2) I lack the interest and resources to start my own company.
                3) It is eminently bribeable.
                4) Its rather permanent mangling of my name makes it more convenient to screen out junk mail as “sold by verizon”
                5) I rather prefer a company whose biggest enemy is squirrels.

                This does not make up for its failures, but does make “better than nothing” a possibility. If you had a better deal, I’d switch.

                Verizon has broken irreplaceable machinery of mine, it wouldn’t have to be that much better of a deal.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh. About as soon as I can get the Libertarians to agree on the definition of markets, we’ll be all set to ride. All this hooey about Everyone’s a Winner intrigues me greatly. I’d love to find out where that’s true.

                (musically)

                Take the last train to Marxsville and I’ll meet you at the station
                You can be be here by four thirty ’cause I made your reservation
                Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Based upon the responses and Monkey’s songs I am going to say that Brian’s point stands.

                Kim admits that she prefers having the phone to the base case of not having it, and the dark necromancer provided an example of fraud.

                Oddly, nobody brought up externalities, which do need to be accounted for, but can we all just agree Voluntary, non fraudulent market interactions are expected positive sum moves for both parties?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                @M.A.,
                If that were the case – not that it is – then that’s a deal I’d be hard-pressed not to take.

                So we agree on at least that.Report

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

                Verizon is in no way a monopoly. Half of a duopoly maybe. Part of an oligopoly. But Verizon does have to compete for its business. They actually even sell resources to help people afford cheaper options if they want to pay less.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim,

                I’ve hated my cell phone provider as much as the next guy, but it’s hard to argue that cell phone service isn’t a glowing example of a free-market success. Even with the moderate level of competition in the cell provider market, the quality and quantity of service we get for our dollars has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years.

                Coverage? Major improvements. Phone quality? Obviously a big win. Data speed and availability? Huge. We’ve gone from cell phones with limited, high-cost, voice-only plans being a specialized item for the rich to ubiquitous data plans with huge monthly usage allowances for the average person. Almost everybody has a cell phone now. In fact, it’s killing the land line market. How is this not a win? Because the phone company knows what the plan is worth to you and is able to get you to pay very nearly that amount?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                To add to what Frog is saying, Verizon provides 4G LTE coverage in Twin Falls and Butte. That’s pretty remarkable, when you think about it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                What T-Frog said. I have a friend who was having trouble with dropped calls, and became (reasonably) irate. He claimed that cell phones were not an improvement, and that the old landline system was better because his phone always worked. I argued that it didn’t–it didn’t work in his car, it didn’t work when he was at the grocery store, it didn’t work at the airport, etc. He got the point, but still wasn’t persuaded, feeling that somehow things actually had gotten worse. So I suggested he ditch his cell phone and return to a landline. He actually wondered if that was possible, and I pointed out that not only did our employer rely on landlines, but that his apartment had a phone jack. If he really thought landlines might be superior, he should give it a try.

                After some thought, he never gave it a try.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                M.A. — “Defined by the Libertarians as “thou shalt not impinge one iota on the liberty of the privileged rich.””

                It’s useless to answer you because you don’t read and comprehend well, but in a Libertarian world, the privileged rich would likely not fair too well unless they started competing and succeeding on merit, but in most cases the bad habits and the bloated companies the privileged rich have developed would probably put them at a disadvantage as small, innovative, nimble economic actors win market share from them. In a Libertarian world, one of the first actions would be an end to all corporate welfare and all favortism, by limiting the power of government to favor anyone over others.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Troublesome frog, et alia,
                I was talking about my landline service, for which Verizon quite rightly thinks that they have a captive audience and can charge over market value. (and continue to waste my dollars sending me mail about FIOS that they haven’t put in on my street yet!! grr….)
                My cell phone is with AT&T.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James,
                oh, no doubt about it, cell phones are surprisingly more useful than landlines. Useful for assassinations, for finding missing people, for pranking people… (can you use them to make cars drive in circles? ;-P I think that stunt was with wireless, actually.)Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim,

                You can ditch the landline, though! Very easily, if you have broadband.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Will,
                the true missing voters are those who use skype. They’re nearly impossible to poll using conventional methods. And people whine and bitch and moan about cell phone users… 😉Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I haven’t had a landline for years. It amuses me that my house was built before telephones were invented, and still exists in this post land-line era.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Can’t ditch the landline if you want a centrally monitored alarm system.

                Personally, I don’t think we need it, but Zazzy really appreciates the piece of mind. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I do as well.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                You can’t have an alarm system with VOIP?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                You *can* use a VOIP but it has to meet a bunch of standards, which most providers don’t meet. As a result, you have to pay for a cell-service based monitoring device, which is an additional monthly fee. Combined with the installation fee, you outpace whatever savings you may have gotten from dropping a landline. Couple that with the cost savings (including accessing literally thousands of free wifi hotspots our provider has that are only available to tri-bundled subscribers) we do get by bundling our landline with our internet and cable and it is a clear win to keep the landline.

                I don’t know the technical details, but my guess is that VOIP doesn’t provide the constant, dedicated, uninterrupted signal that a hardwired landline does and that this is pretty crucial for a properly maintained, centrally monitored security system.

                We also get a discount on the service itself via my wife’s veteran status and having the system knocks a bit off our homeowner’s policy. It doesn’t pay for the service by any means but it certainly makes it easier to swallow than if we were paying full freight and not getting the insurance discount.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jason Kuznicki
                Ignored
                says:

                we could trim $100 billion (or even a whole lot more) from our defense budget and still have a vastly larger and stronger military than anyone else

                I bet we could cut $100 billion from our defense budget and actually spend more on actual defense, if you know what I mean.Report

    • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Dan Miller
      Ignored
      says:

      “I think the answer to “why do conservatives trust libertarians, while liberals don’t” is that both liberals and conservatives think that the economic issues where you guys side with the right–taxes, spending and health care are the big ones–are more important than the stuff where you agree with liberals.”

      Moreover, on issues of “personal liberty”, like SSM or the like, support seems to be half-hearted at best, whereas on issues of “economic liberty”, the guns are blazing full-force. Sales tax instead of income tax? Really?

      Liberals and libertarians are in agreement on both the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. We disagree about what to do about the first, though, I’m sure.Report

  3. Avatar Patrick Bridges
    Ignored
    says:

    Jason, I think part of the problem for me, at least, is that a lot of the standard libertarian tropes (taxation is theft, government is coercion, I didn’t agree to be governed) have been shoved at me so many times by hard-core libertarian minarchists who aren’t nearly as thoughtful as many of the more realistic libertarians here. As a result, though, when they’re off-handedly mentioned by more moderate realist libertarians, it puts our hackles up and pushes the arguments to extremes.

    The whole scene reminds my of something I saw on Chris Hayes’ show a few weeks ago when Avik Roy and Ta-Nehisi Coates were on. They were talking about racism and the response to the election, and started talking about a Romney supporter who had hung a sign on his business door about us abandoning the heritage our forefathers left us. The following conversation then ensued:

    ***
    COATES: The heritage and tradition is racist. I just hate — it is.
    ROY: This is the problem is that if the heritage and tradition of
    America is racist, then conservatives are all racist, because —
    (CROSSTALK)
    COATES: Because the heritage is also a lot of other things too. It`s
    not just racist. There are a lot of other things you can believe in too,
    but it is racist. That`s part of it, and you can`t really deny that –
    ***

    Coates wasn’t wrong about the heritage and tradition of this country being racist, but those kinds of statements don’t facilitate discussion. When said that way, many people think he’s saying that the most important part of this country’s heritage and tradition is racism, not just that *one component* of it is racism.

    Similarly, when I hear libertarians emphasizing that “government is coercion”, my experience arguing with minarchist libertarians makes me think they’re saying “government is only about coersion and therefore bad”. On the other hand not that “an important element of government is about coercion, but it has a useful and necessary role to play in society.” Now, I’m not saying this is libertarian’s problem – maybe it’s mine and there’s adjustment on my part to make when I discuss things here. However, I think it’s also important for libertarians to understand how their messaging is coming across to many of the people they’re talking to.

    Likewise, I’m sure there are arguments that liberals make that set libertarians on edge and derail productive conversation. Identifying those to us would also be helpful.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Patrick Bridges
      Ignored
      says:

      Excellent comment. From my pov as a liberal, anyway. I think that gets to the heart of one of the very sticky issues we’ve been dealing with over the last few days. A libertarian and a liberal can agree that a specific instance of government policy or power is unjust or bad. But all too often the libertarian makes gestures that the reason he feels this way is because all government is bad. Government, for the libertarian, is a necessary evil. For the liberal, on the other hand, government is sometimes an unqualified good. SO the liberal hears the libertarians as advocating – either in principle or (unfortunately) in practice – for the dissolution of government. And so it goes.

      It’s a matter of perspective, it seems to me, and I’ll say this from the pov of a liberal and how I think liberals view libertarianism: Liberals think that libertarians view all government as inherently bad when compared against an ideal in which government would be unnecessary. But the ideal is unrealizable. (Even on the libertarians own terms!). So … why does the libertarian persist in thinking that all government is inherently bad – a necessary evil! – instead of being an unqualified good?

      That takes us down to psychology, and an effort to understand or attribute various reasons to the libertarian for holding what are quite obviously crazy beliefs. (From the liberal pov, of course.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        {{Which isn’t to say, of course, that the libertarian doesn’t view liberals as holding wildly crazy beliefs, and etc., and that our craziness doesn’t contribute to the communication breakdown.}}Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I’d put it down as “government’s a necessary evil”– and I’m a liberal (or at least I’m pretty sure that’s what someone else might call me).Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kim
          Ignored
          says:

          But only according to an idealized model where human behavior was so radically different (maybe even logically impossible) where government would be unnecessary. TO me, the analogy would be like saying the rules which define the game of football are a necessary evil. It just makes no sense.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            I think you’re mistaking me. To me, the rules are relatively flexible, and smart people generally break a good few of them during a day.
            I wish everyone were smart enough that government wouldn’t be necessary.
            It’s a rules versus guidelines perspective.
            still…
            “eight years old, dude!”Report

      • Avatar Roger in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        SW,

        On why so many of us you-know-whats lean more right than left…

        The right’s take on evolution, science, religion, homosexuality, abortion, borders and drugs are all distasteful to us. However, most of these issues are kind of irrelevant or of minor importance.

        Abortion is legal and thus a moot point.
        Evolution is a fact and failure to teach it is just sad, but not earth shattering.
        Science is best when private, so unless the right actively interferes with private science, it is no big harm.
        Drugs and borders are areas where the left isn’t really aligned either.
        Gay marriage just isn’t that critical of a factor to heterosexuals. I certainly wouldn’t vote just on this issue.

        That leads one area where I clearly disagree with the right in a meaningful way, wasting money on defense and wars.

        The real action for me comes in the economics and the role of government. In a room full of college educated republicans, there is little problem getting them to agree to the importance of free enterprise, minimal government interference, the role of competition, decentralized institutions and creative destruction, free trade, market wages, decentralized dolutions to climate change, right to work and so forth.

        In a room full of college educated democrats, I would be lynched for bringing these up.

        The most important issue for the plight of humanity in my opinion is our prosperity. I can see eye to eye on the recipe for prosperity with those on the right. They get it and can be persuaded I know for a fact that my recipe is viewed as evil bullshit by the left. Stupid, Evil, BS.

        Thus many of us lean right, politically.Report

        • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Roger
          Ignored
          says:

          “The right’s take on evolution, science, religion, homosexuality, abortion, borders and drugs are all distasteful to us. However, most of these issues are kind of irrelevant or of minor importance.”

          These are all VERY important to liberals, especially this one — and should be to libertarians, since they all impact “personal liberty”. But then we get “process is more important than outcome” and similar — what sounds like nonsense to us, and all in favor of the Right’s “fewer taxes and fewer regulations”.

          And you wonder why we can’t talk to each other?!Report

          • Avatar Roger in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name
            Ignored
            says:

            I explained why they are less relevant. Abortion will still be legal. Gay people will still live with gay people. Evolution will still be true and anyone smart enough to understand it will be able to learn all about it. Science will operate the same or better. And the other issues are not really handled better by the left.

            They may be important issues, but practically speaking they matter less than the prosperity of the human race…to me.

            And no, I do not wonder why we cannot talk to each other. This website makes it abundantly clear. Libertarians and college educated liberals have VASTLY different takes on economics and institutions of progress.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              Science is the engine that drives our economy. Any precious second spent not teaching kids how to make thermite, or other fun science games, is a second we are making ourselves poorer, statistically speaking.

              America’s economic prosperity comes not from Engineers, nor Farmers, but Scientists.Report

            • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              “They may be important issues, but practically speaking they matter less than the prosperity of the human race…to me.”

              Right there. The Left makes a big deal out of privilege, and this is why. As a straight, white male, these issues aren’t important … to you. They aren’t important personally to me either, but they are important to others, and we on the Left think they’re important too.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Jeff No-Last-Name
                Ignored
                says:

                Jeff,

                I think prosperity matters even more to those that are not prosperous than those that are. That said, many of the other issues aren’t really in play at all. They are just poster topics for voting blocks.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, Roger, you aren’t getting it. If a woman gets pregnant, it doesn’t matter if she’s making 25k or 50k – abortion is still illegal. Same thing with gay marriage and a host of other issues. Not every human cares most about their checking account.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                Obviously I don’t get it because I thought women had a right to choose.

                I am not talking about paychecks. I am talking about long term economic prosperity and well being of the human race. See the difference?Report

              • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                No, you really don’t get it. Clinics are closing or are being forced to close. Doctors, nurses and clinics are under attack. “Right to chose” means nothing if there’s not opportunity to chose.

                I’m talking about the well-being of people right here, right now. In the long term, we’re all dead anyway.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Jeff,

                Got it man. The overriding issue of importance is how convenient we make it to have abortions. Ok…. Cool.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Roger.

                A “right” that exists in theory only, impossible in practice, ceases to be a right.

                Mississippi only has one clinic left that will perform the services women have a right to receive. Mississippi’s government has enacted a crazy, impossible-to-follow law requiring any physician performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, then promptly threatened all the nearby hospitals with being shut down if they gave admitting privileges to any doctor known to perform abortions.

                A law that “looks” reasonable, but was just a pretext; and that’s the kind of fishing nonsense we get from your side all the time. Lies, doublespeak, and worse.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t get me wrong I am pro choice…. Oops, my bad. I didn’t realize the new PC term is pro convenient choice.

                Indeed I am gonna start a petition or whatever it is you kids call it today for mobile drive by abortions. Kinda like taco trucks. But better.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger: shut the fish up. Your misrepresentations of the situation are duplicitous and dishonest.

                A legal right with no way to exercise it, ceases to be a right.

                I have examined the hurdles many states have already attempted to place on abortion (South Dakota passed a law requiring doctors to LIE to their patients; North Dakota has tried three shady laws in the past two years, and then there’s the Mississippi thing).

                The relevant precedent is Planned Parenthood v. Casey , 1992. The standard for a law is that it may not created an “undue burden”, which is to say, may not have “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.”

                Now, if you are really going to argue “well this is all convenience, they can drive 1000 miles to wherever the last few remaining abortion clinics are after the right wing firebombs and shutters the rest”, then I think we’re done here. You wouldn’t know an undue burden if it walked right up and smacked you.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger,
                You’ve read the theories raised on how abortions killed the American Crime Wave (TM)? I’d say you can make a pretty decent argument that “long term economic prosperity” is tied, both primarily and secondarily to abortion (primary in that teens getting pregnant reduce their income earning potential, secondarily in that the subsequent stress decreases their health outcomes, so we all end up paying for someone’s baby that they can’t afford).Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                I am ashamed to admit that I am not a fan of proactive eugenics. Perhaps Jeff is right, I just don’t get it.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger,
                Eugenics is a thing. An enforceable by law thing, in America, as it so happens.I stand against that, in all manifestations.
                And I don’t actually think that people having abortions is very eugenic. It does delay when they actually have babies until they can afford it… (which causes its own problems! Autism if you catch my drift).Report

            • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              The climate thing matters for the human race, I think.

              Also, the New Deal set an example for how to organize society happily and peacefully and stably (SP?), and every country that has copied it has prospered. This is what liberals gave to the human race and what they want to continue to give to the human race: a model for how to maximize overall happiness, autonomy, and equality.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Roger
          Ignored
          says:

          The real action for me comes in the economics and the role of government. In a room full of college educated republicans, there is little problem getting them to agree to the importance of free enterprise, minimal government interference, the role of competition, decentralized institutions and creative destruction, free trade, market wages, decentralized dolutions to climate change, right to work and so forth.

          In a room full of college educated democrats, I would be lynched for bringing these up.

          That’s just because you try to talk to them on your terms, not on their terms. Any good speaker knows that you have to take into account the audience you’re talking to. So, just as the lesson the GOP needs to talk to the young and minorities in terms of the problems they really care about, libertarians need to talk to liberals about providing meaningful solutions to the problems they actually care about.

          Start by talk about how ineffective the government is at actually reducing poverty, actually providing good schooling to low-income americans, and providing high-quality health care and housing to the poor. Then tell them you want to give every permanent resident or citizen $10k/year (including for dependents) to use as they will. They would be able to use all of this to pay for job training, healthcare, housing, and the school of their choice for their kids. Tell them you also want a progressive income tax starts at -35% and caps at 35% to help low-income Americans get meaningful pay out of their jobs. You do that, and they might even agree to end SNAP immediately, and would probably agree to wind down other anti-poverty programs over time, too.

          Throw in ending the drug war, the war on terror, and all the other things you have common cause with on liberals to close the sale.Report

          • Avatar Roger in reply to Patrick Bridges
            Ignored
            says:

            Good advice, PB

            The problem though is I am not really trying to win their vote or avoid getting strung up. I am really hoping to get those on the left to understand the importance of free markets, free trade, profits, competition, experimentation, non coercion and choice. I can’t do it. They do not as a group see eye to eye with me at all. A sizeable portion are absolutely convinced I am selfish, naive, and either deceptive, exploitative or both. In nine out of ten discussions with the far left on this forum, the conversation ends with just such an accusation. Feel free to review yesterday’s threads for examples. I can provide several hundred more examples.

            The notable exception is those on the left that are well educated in economics or various fields which involve designing or managing complex adaptive systems. Indeed, I may be closest aligned politically and philosophically with this subsection.

            On the right, I can usually get the majority to see eye to eye. They are capable of getting it, almost intuitively.

            The reason this is so interesting to me is I am researching the nature of progress. Progress in culture, in economics, science, technology and so forth. As such, I like to play back my thoughts on the issue to an audience. There is an audience from the far left that just flat out stares back in complete and total disgust.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              Naive, yes, and only occasionally right. Blaise is right when he says you have to have rules to play a game. Markets are just another game, and sometimes, just like monopoly, a market can get into a really bad state.

              In an ideal market, competition reigns supreme. But there are surprisingly few honest markets around.

              One side says “government corrupted the market” … and the other side says, “Government’s just another tool in the game”

              I know an economist, he’s learned a lot from Roth. He talks about the dangers of the super-rich. Now, there’s some stuff that I’ll keep off this blog, but let it not be said that the super-rich are folks just like you and me. Their psychology is different, due to them never having to shoulder any risk in their lives (not Gates and other self-made men, to be clear).

              If you want to learn something about progress in culture, you might check out /b/ on 4chan. Fascinating stuff that. Or study the differences between Redstate and DailyKos.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                We tried a totally free, unregulated market recently? We let the players play; set their own rules, with absolutely no government intrusion. None.

                Their position [the traders] was that markets were self-regulatory, that this market was taking care of itself, there were no risks in the market, and they thought there was no need for any government oversight or regulation.

                And then it collapsed. Yes, we’re talking about the derivatives market.

                That’s Brooksley Born, former head of the CFTC talking.

                We had no regulation. No federal or state public official had any idea what was going on in those markets, so enormous leverage was permitted, enormous borrowing. There was also little or no capital being put up as collateral for the transactions. All the players in the marketplace were participants and counterparties to one another’s contracts. This market had gotten to be over $680 trillion in notional value as of June 2008 when it topped up. I think that was the peak. And that is an enormous market. That’s more than 10 times the gross national product of all the countries in the world.

                $680 trillion. In a market that did not exist before the 1980’s. From zero to $680 trillion in just 15 years.

                And depending on private property rights to regulate doesn’t work out so well, this market shows:

                while the CFTC had exempted the market from most of our regulation, … my predecessors had retained fraud and manipulation prohibitions against the market. And I, when I got into office, thought, well, how can we detect these malfeasances? How do we deter them? And I realized there was no record-keeping requirement imposed on participants in the market. There was no reporting. We had no information. The only way the CFTC found out about the Bankers Trust fraud was because Procter & Gamble and others filed suit. …

                Yet it had all the proper bells and whistles. The rating agencies rated it, and the insurers insured it. And it was good. People made loads of money. The economy grew. And then collapsed.

                In a world where this is possible, freedom means being safe from the consequences of people who would risk economic stability in the name of profit. This is an illness, and it’s catching.

                The other thing it showed me, which I hadn’t really been aware of before, was the risk from tremendous contagion. Not only did these instruments, which supposedly are useful for managing risk, it multiplied risk and spread it around throughout the economy, but because of counterparty risk, one institution’s failure could potentially bring down or adversely affect a large number of our biggest financial institutions.

                Because this is a market that can impact each of us. It’s AIG’s collapse. It’s the toxic assets on the books of many of our biggest banks that are over-the-counter derivatives and that caused the economic downturn that made us lose our savings, lose our jobs, lose our homes. We can’t face repeated harm like this from a totally black market, a dark market.

                Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                the worst part is? the rich got richer when it all came crashing down. They’re the type to do it again.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “with absolutely no government intrusion”

                Interesting choice of words, intrusion. But how about involvement? Backstopping it all was the implied and then realized TBTF protection of the government. Wall Street is driven by greed and fear. Fear took a holiday on this one.

                I like what Simon Johnson had to say about cleaning up after the financial crisis. Is this bank bankrupt? Then go bankrupt, already. Risk-taking should have consequences. I think this is perfectly consistent with libertarian thought on the matter.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Major Zed
                Ignored
                says:

                Had we actually let Bear and Lehmann go bankrupt, we would have had to use martial law.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                We did let Lehman Brothers go bankrupt.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                We bailed out Goldmann and most of the counterparties. That’s not actually letting the stupid people get poorer because of their stupid fucking decisions.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                As I said, I like Simon Johnson’s prescription that the FDIC should have put all the underwater banks into receivership. Throw out the management, clean up the balance sheets. Zero out the equity shareholders and give the bondholders whatever haircut was needed. Break up the big ones (reserving my opinion on that) and sell the cleaned-up remains back to the private sector. That would have provided some lessons to the banking oligarchy! You should read the article – he talks about our banking system as if it were a 3rd world banana republic (my words – he was more polite using “emerging market”).Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Major,
                Pardon, but I still believe that fixing the problem before it starts leaking is the best way to fix things.
                And that martial law ought to never be a good solution to anything.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim,

                I agree that prevention is preferable to cure. Going forward, part of the prevention should be to make the risk-takers shoulder the risk by removing TBTF guarantees. Behavior will change! Instead, we are moving in the opposite direction, allowing banks to get bigger and reassuring them that failure will not be an option.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Kim,

                Just to clarify, JH and I (among others) argued that you have to have rules. Blaise argued that the rules absolutely have to be enforced by external agents.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Your rules are not my rules. My rules say that one ought to start out “reasonably equal” and then have the opportunity to accumulate money from there. No Reward Without Risk.
                Free Riders are more dangerous on the upside than on the down.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually according to my definition of a fair game, they are only fair rules if we both agreed to them before we started playing.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Then no game is ever fair. Because when we play, we play for keeps.
                And half the rules you have, in reality, are biologically based.

                Did anyone get folks to agree that chocolate is a mind-altering substance? How about coffee? Did anyone get folks to agree that using our sex drive is a good way to “popularize” products (including the aformentioned chocolate)?

                How about Victimware (the deliberate engineering of clothing so that a guy has an easier time getting into a girl’s pants — while not bothering to disclose this to the girl, thus giving her a false illusion of safety)?

                So, Sir, you say that fraud is a reasonable thing to prosecute someone for? How about someone creating victimware? If a woman has non-consensual sex, due, in part, to the clothing she was wearing, is she entitled to damages from the manufacturer?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                And therein, Kim, makes you a fundamentally different libertarian than any other type I’ve seen before.

                I have yet to see another Libertarian who noticed that while Wall Street took all the value from everything they did, when it came time that the markets crashed grandma’s retirement fund became worthless while the Wall Street bankers were all nicely protected from the fallout and experienced only the barest hiccup.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                they made a profit while robbing grandma. I pay attention to these sorts of things. It’s why I couldn’t in good conscience vote for hillary…Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Good luck getting the crypto-conservatives like Hanley or Kuznicki to ever admit the truth of that statement.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait, what? You think Kim is a libertarian?

                No wonder you’re so confused. This may help:

                A short, incomplete list of folks I’d call libertarians around here:

                Me
                Jaybird
                James Hanley
                Brandon Berg
                James K
                Brian Houser

                A short, incomplete list of people who are definitely not libertarians around here:

                Kim/Kimmi/Kimsie
                Tom Van Dyke
                DensityDuck
                North

                I really do hope this helps. I mean it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Hold up Kuznicki!
                You don’t get to have James K. AFAIK he’s self identified as neoliberalish with libertarian sympathies (so pretty close to me). Stop trying to kidnap my commonwealth cousins!

                Also have you ever heard the kiwi accent? Like Australian but smoother. You can have him when you pry him from us neoliberals cold dead hands (or if he clarifies that he considers himself libertarian of course).Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                If memory serves, I think Kim self identified yesterday. Granted she hasn’t learned the secret hand shake yet.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger,
                Yeah. stripes and spots make even the black panther shine.
                I think it was finally hearing that to build an ordinary house in some cities, you need to hire lobbyists.
                I’ve always been more of the school of thought of “numbers first, test everything, and go with what works” rather than trying to force everything to fit under one ideology.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it was finally hearing that to build an ordinary house in some cities, you need to hire lobbyists.

                [Citation needed.]Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                I feel left out. Which list am I in?Report

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

                Kim may (or may not) have been referring to my reference to a woman in Steuben County, Indiana, who couldn’t get a building permit because she wanted to build only an 800 square foot house, and that was below the minimum size allowed. But by her own estimation she not only didn’t need, but couldn’t afford to build, a bigger house.

                Steuben County is lake country, and Republican territory, and they want to keep their property values up. Can’t have somebody making their lake homes less pricey by building a small house somewhere out in the country.Report

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

                I think it’s hilarious that M.A. calls me a crypto-conservative while my brother (a liberal) swears I’m really a liberaltarian. I guess my own brother of nearly half a century doesn’t know me as well as this anonymous guy on the internet who’s “known” me for only a few months.

                Can anyone please tell me what the secret crypto-conservative handshake is? Or is it the same thing I’ve been doing, thinking all along it was the secret libertarian handshake?

                I just don’t know anymore. M.A.’s thrown me into a terrible identity crisis.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                awww, I don’t get to be in your club? 😥Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              I am really hoping to get those on the left to understand the importance of free markets, free trade, profits, competition, experimentation, non coercion and choice. I can’t do it. They do not as a group see eye to eye with me at all.

              No, the problem is that your underlying assertions and underlying presuppositions are wrong. If that’s not “seeing eye to eye”, I guess that’s how it works.

              “Free” markets, as libertarians describe their ideal, tend not to actual freedom but to oligarchy or monopoly in any given field, followed by hostile takeovers by oligarchy players into other fields. That’s only temporary freedom.

              “Free” trade, as libertarians describe it, is likewise a canard. Trade between relatively equal partners is one thing, the sort of “free” trade libertarians describe looks more like the the days of colonial economic rape than actual freedom.

              profits, competition, experimentation

              Profits, competition, experimentation – in many sectors, good things. Not uniformly in all sectors, but in many sectors and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Liberal who disagrees. But we Liberals are going to say you can have all three while still having a well-regulated, actually FREE market rather than an oligarchy market.

              non coercion and choice

              And here’s where your whole line of argumentation breaks down, not that you can ever seem to see it.

              Those on the lower end of the economic spectrum live in a constant state of coercion. Many of their “choices” are really no choice at all, or at best a choice of a raw deal with lube and a raw deal without lube.

              Economic coercion is just as much a factor as the “monopoly on coercive force” that Libertarians constantly claim only exists for government. Moreover, it’s a function whether or not government actually exists.

              Libertarians think that economic coercion would go away if government didn’t have power to do certain things, but Libertarians at the same time want government to enforce contract law and liability law. And even absent a government that lent itself to that, those with coercive economic force would just hire leg-breakers instead.

              On the right, I can usually get the majority to see eye to eye. They are capable of getting it, almost intuitively.

              Do they really “get it”, or are you just starting in agreement to them and engaging in a nice back-patting circular effort of philosophically masturbatory nature?

              There is an audience from the far left that just flat out stares back in complete and total disgust.

              And you can’t step back a moment in order to think about why that is and understand their perspective on it.

              I’m reminded of a friend of mine who’s been suckered into the “gummint budgit should be run like a home budgit gawddamnit” austerity-madness of the more extreme Tea Party wing, who can’t understand that “austerity” of the type he is advocating is a death spiral plan.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                You can explain to your friend the sucker that when he bought his house, as a sound fiscally minded person was, he put himself in debt, to the tune of at least 3x his income. This is a HELL of a lot more than The Us gov’t’s current debt, as a ratio of GDP.Report

            • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Roger
              Ignored
              says:

              Again, then show how to use these ideas to solve problems liberals care about. As you’ve seen here, many liberals think that *all libertarians* just want to burn down the government and start over. They think that, in terms of the economy, you don’t care about the things they care about *at all*, and so everything you say comes across as crypto-conservatism, as someone else said up-thread.

              So pick your favorite poverty topic that you think libertarian ideas can solve better than current government programs. Talk about the practical problems with the government-run program in terms that the listeners will care about, say poor management and maintenance in public housing, or people not being able to take jobs for fear of losing access to medicare for their kids. And then show how some particularly libertarian approach to solving the problem might work, and *that* is when you talk about choice, and free markets, and such. Telling them that you want to guarantee them a basic income to give them the choice of how to solve these problems themselves and get housing and health care from the free market will get their attention.

              Sure, they’ll be skeptical. Sure some may think you’re trying to pull something over on them. Building bridges to the left on economic policy is going to take time and energy and hard work. The first step, though, is convincing them that the problems they care about are problems you care about, too, and you have ideas and meaningful things to say there.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Patrick Bridges
                Ignored
                says:

                …everything looks like a nail.

                Regardless of the adequacy of the status quo, life isn’t fair and men are imperfect: there is always room for improvement.

                And so, the hammer of government is always at the ready to pound on something, or someone.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                “adequacy of the status quo” Adequate for who?
                Its easy for those aren’t affected directly by a problem to not see a problem at all.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Exactly, Robin Hood.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Wow no substance to that response at all. Thanks for exactly meeting my expectations.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Griswold v. Connecticut isn’t enough; you have to force others to pay for contraceptives as well! Go for it, brother, all the substance you can handle is right there.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Conservatives didn’t seem a contraceptive mandate a few years back. Hell, Alabama Republican’s voted for it.

                http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/15/nation/la-na-gop-contraceptives-20120216

                “Four years later, the Arkansas law easily cleared that state’s Legislature, with help from Republican lawmakers, including two GOP cosponsors. Huckabee signed it in April 2005. … like the original federal regulation proposed by Obama, the Arkansas law did not exempt church-affiliated hospitals and universities. It exempts only “religious employers” that are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is “the inculcation of religious values,” and primarily employ people who share the same religion, a standard few Catholic hospitals meet.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                *I* would have argued how far we have come from Giswold vs. Connecticut… we’ve gone from “it’s none of your business if I take birth control!” to “It’s your responsibility to see that I have it!”Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Next thing people will be saying health insurance should cover chemo therapy or broken legs. I mean come on HI covering medications….its like so socialist.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                I think it’s more that using health insurance for a product that costs four bucks a month is to misuse insurance.

                There are discussions one could have over first-dollar coverage… most of them involving cost.

                To have first dollar coverage for something that costs four bucks a month?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                And it’s been gone over multiple times that many women can’t use the $10 birth control prescription, but for some reason, conservative and libertarian men can’t get that through their skulls.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                JB. Like pregnancy/contraception isn’t one of the biggest health-care issues women face.

                For most healthy women between like 15 and 55, it’s pretty much the ONLY reason they see the doctor. Really.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Prescribed contraceptives cost a bit more. This was covered in a thread. They can be a bit pricey, certainly as much as other meds. As has also been noted contraceptives are often prescribed for other reasons than just preventing pregnancy.

                A follow up question is how much input does your employer have in your health care? I understand the religious issue even though i don’t think much of it. But the corollary to the people advocating the religious exemption is that your employer can decide what medical care you can and can’t receive. I can find the bill some R’s were pushing allowing employers to be able to opt of paying for just about any medical care they didn’t want to pay for.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                many women can’t use the $10 birth control prescription

                And we’re probably no longer talking about birth control at that point, but issues involving pain, hormone regulation, and the ever elusive “other”… and if you want to talk about first-dollar coverage for those drugs, I’d be happy to.

                The problem is that if we’re talking about “birth control”, the majority of women can, in fact, take a 4-dollar/month, 10-dollar/3 months pill and, like Griswold vs. Connecticut says, it’s none of my freakin’ business.

                What I object to is it being made my business *AND* being told that I’m not allowed to have an opinion about it afterwards (unless it’s supportive, of course).

                If it’s my business, it’s my business.

                If it’s none of my business, it’s none of my business.

                Quit trying for all of the upsides of it being my business and all of the upsides of it being none of my business. That’s irritating.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                You can have any opinion you want. The decision about what BC a woman uses should be between her and her doc.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Actually, it’s none of your business what your employee uses in their health care plan any more than it’s any of their business what they use with their paycheck.

                And again, as I linked, a contraceptive mandate was such a controversial idea that the _Alabama_ legislature passed it and _Mike Huckabee_ signed it. I guess the death of religious freedom started in Birmingham.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                What if health care becomes a nationalized kinda thing? Can I have an opinion about it then?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                And we’re probably no longer talking about birth control at that point, but issues involving pain, hormone regulation, and the ever elusive “other”… and if you want to talk about first-dollar coverage for those drugs, I’d be happy to.

                And in this level of fishing dishonesty is where you find companies trying to make their employee swear on penalty of perjury that they are using a BC product for “other” reasons other than birth control, and giving the company right of refusal anyways if they don’t “believe” the employee.

                Lie about the cost: check. Lie about the real objections: check.

                “Waah we’re being forced to pay for it.” No, actually, it’s a very small part (but important to the women involved) of a comprehensive healthcare insurance plan.

                Whether a woman chooses to use hormonal BC, or a diaphragm, or has a tubal ligation, or asks her significant other to get a vasectomy, or has any other medication or operation that may in some way involve the operation of her vagina, you conservative fishtards want to get in the middle of it. And that’s something I don’t understand.

                But woe betide the one who says that maybe you 60-70 year old senile wrecks shouldn’t be getting your viagra subsidized by the same plans.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                Jay- Both Jesse and i have specifly mentioned employers. The R view on this and what you seem to be sharing is that EMPLOYERS can pick and choose the HC their employess recieve. I have no qualms about saying that is wrong. Its also a road i doubt many conservitives really want to go down.

                If and when we can get nationalized HC than everybody can and will and should have opinions. And again the choice of HC should be between the doc and patient. The payer can decide what they pay for preferebly based on the best science about what works.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                The R view on this and what you seem to be sharing is that EMPLOYERS can pick and choose the HC their employess recieve. I have no qualms about saying that is wrong. Its also a road i doubt many conservitives really want to go down.

                The R view is that employees become chattel of the employer, and I’m sure that’s Jaybird’s view too. Anything can be withheld, and the employee can dictate pretty much any lifestyle choice or non-choice of the employee under threat of firing.

                These are the people who supported Chick-Fil-A’s right to fire a woman because CFA’s manager thought she should “be a stay-at-home mom” even though the woman thought different, so it’s no surprise they want employers to have say-so over womens’ reproductive choices too.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                These are the people who supported Chick-Fil-A’s right to fire a woman because CFA’s manager thought she should “be a stay-at-home mom” even though the woman thought different

                There’s a conception of Libertarianism under which that type of activity ought to be prohibited by government, it seems to me.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                MA- No that is not where Jay is going. I’m pretty sure i know where he is going and i don’t agree with him if he goes where i think he is. But he won’t be saying employees are chattel. Now some R’s are going essentially go there.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                But woe betide the one who says that maybe you 60-70 year old senile wrecks shouldn’t be getting your viagra subsidized by the same plans.

                I poop you not: I have had this conversation and someone (on the left even) argued against me because: sex is a human right.

                Anyway, I think that you guys need to be a *LOT* more careful about what is in the private sphere and what is in the public. Like it or not: if someone else is paying for it, they’re going to have an opinion on it and you’re going to find yourself hard-pressed to pull the “It’s a privacy issue! It’s none of your business!!!” in one minute and “We need more taxes to pay for these things!!!” in the next.

                You might find that you, seriously, preferred when these things weren’t anybody else’s business.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                the _Alabama_ legislature passed it and _Mike Huckabee_ signed it

                How does the Governor of Arkansas come to be signing Alabama legislation?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke
                Ignored
                says:

                I got two Southern states that start with A confused. I humbly apologize.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke
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                says:

                Complete nonsense and a perversion of the concept of liberty.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Patrick Bridges
                Ignored
                says:

                I would just like to point out that Patrick could be describing a moderate libertarian platform or a neoliberal (neoclassical liberal) platform. It’s Matt Yglesias’s platform.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Patrick Bridges
                Ignored
                says:

                PB,

                I would really value continuing this type of discussion with you. Very much so.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d be delighted to, Roger. If you want to continue offline, Google of my name finds my home page easily, which has my email address linked from there.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Roger
          Ignored
          says:

          “The solution to all your problems is to give the other side what they want in the short term, because in the long term, you’ll be better off. And on the stuff where I agree with you? It’s not important, so just let it go.”

          I can’t imagine why anyone would object to that.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Roger
          Ignored
          says:

          Science is best when private, so unless the right actively interferes with private science, it is no big harm.

          Funny, I don’t see a lot of privately operated particle colliders….

          Fundamental science is by nature publicly funded. The most important discovery of the past 50 years is a gigantic, multinational collaboration.Report

          • Avatar Roger in reply to Nob Akimoto
            Ignored
            says:

            Nob,

            According to The 2003 OECDs Sources of Economic Growth, the net effect of state funded R & D is to crowd out private R&D and to have a net damage to economic growth.

            That said, I do agree that the optimal mix of science would include a mix of private and public. I could be wrong of course, and would value data rither way. The fact that universities are blended private and public further confuses the issue too, as does the mess we have made with patents in recent years.

            Terence Kealey’s book on Sex, Science and Profits is a good summary of the issues.

            Let me just step back though and say that I do not see the GOPs anti science wing as a major threat to the advancement of science. If it was I would be very, very concerned.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s a matter of perspective, it seems to me, and I’ll say this from the pov of a liberal and how I think liberals view libertarianism: Liberals think that libertarians view all government as inherently bad when compared against an ideal in which government would be unnecessary. But the ideal is unrealizable. (Even on the libertarians own terms!). So … why does the libertarian persist in thinking that all government is inherently bad – a necessary evil! – instead of being an unqualified good?

        I always think of it all this way: Government is a lot like fire, incredibly useful, & incredibly dangerous.

        Say, Society is a bunch of people living in a house. Government is the 200 year old gas furnace. The furnace is rickety, it’s been maintained, repaired, upgraded, but not always by the smartest technicians or in a consistent manner. It’s operation can be… problematic.

        When it gets cold out, Liberals want to turn up the furnace, Libertarians think you should just put on a sweater, & lately I can’t decide if conservatives think everyone should pray for warmer weather, or build a bonfire in the living room.Report

        • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
          Ignored
          says:

          Fish it, forget to close out the tag!Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
          Ignored
          says:

          When it gets cold out, Liberals want to turn up the furnace, Libertarians think you should just put on a sweater, & lately I can’t decide if conservatives think everyone should pray for warmer weather, or build a bonfire in the living room.

          When it gets cold out, Liberals realize that there are 20 people and only 5 sweaters, so maybe we need to turn the furnace up anyways.Report

          • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to M.A.
            Ignored
            says:

            Liberals think the furnace runs on cold fusion (i.e., free energy).

            Libertarians point out that you need to use those 5 sweaters and most of the rest of the clothes (or furniture) to burn as fuel in the furnace. You’ve got to take to give.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Brian Houser
              Ignored
              says:

              Liberals believe in empiricism so cold fusion is out. Cold fusion is a great theory. That the theory doesn’t work should be a stern warning to those who propose basing policy on theory without proof. The liberals believe things are “free” as in free health care is one of the tiredest and stupidest misstatements by libertarians and conservatives.Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to Brian Houser
              Ignored
              says:

              No, not at all.

              Ever noticed how the groups that Liberals have said we need to return to sane tax rates on (I deliberately use this wording because our insanely LOW tax rates at present are a historical aberration) would, if they were paying a double marginal tax rate and double capital gains rate tomorrow, barely notice any impact?

              It’s true. Despite the cries and lies of the right wing, higher tax rates on rich people do not hurt the economy or make lazy people out of the lower brackets. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90% – and that’s the period the right wing otherwise wants to go back to.

              Nothing of that high tax rate prevented actual businessmen from investing, creating new businesses, working harder. NOTHING.

              Entrepreneurs get this. They don’t care about high tax rates, it just means hey, if they pay taxes, they go out and keep building the business and making more money.

              On the other hand, Wall Street executives, banking group scammers, and groups of vulture capitalists that exist by exploiting legal and tax loopholes and dodges in order to make otherwise suicidal gambits into cash flows? THEY are the ones crying to keep tax rates low.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Something to think about:

                Super-low tax rates on rich people also appear to be correlated with unsustainable sugar highs in the economy–brief, enjoyable booms followed by protracted busts. They also appear to be correlated with very high inequality. (For example, see the 1920s and now).Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                also, tulips.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s true. Despite the cries and lies of the right wing, higher tax rates on rich people do not hurt the economy or make lazy people out of the lower brackets. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the top bracket income tax rate was over 90% – and that’s the period the right wing otherwise wants to go back to.

                Nothing of that high tax rate prevented actual businessmen from investing, creating new businesses, working harder. NOTHING.

                Well, there were also “expense accounts” that a lot of workers of a certain level-and-up had access to. Going out to lunch? Expense it! Going on vacation with the wife? Expense it!

                It wasn’t considered taxable income, and didn’t fall under the 90% tax rate. When Kennedy passed his tax cuts, he started collecting a lot more of the taxes he wanted.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes; as people have pointed out, the “massive increase in executive compensation” was more of a bookkeeping issue.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        For the liberal, on the other hand, government is sometimes an unqualified good.

        If it’s only “sometimes” an unqualified good, isn’t that a qualification of its goodness?Report

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

          For the liberal, on the other hand, government is sometimes a better alternative than the others.

          There you go, MUCH more accurate.Report

        • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          We don’t actually worship government and insist that all of its consequences are ipso facto the best possible outcome. Unlike (I don’t really need to say it, do I?)Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
          Ignored
          says:

          Christ, here we go again. Sometimes is specific to certain types of actions, not a partial critique of it’s totality.

          But you confirm my earlier view by what you say: that libertarians view government is inherently bad. Necessarily so.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            You took a comment on linguistic logic as confirmation that I think government is necessarily and inherently bad?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
              Ignored
              says:

              Based on tone, texture and context, yes. Your comment missed the entirely of the point being made and instead focused on nutpicking … just to score some cheap points.

              It seems to me.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a blog, dude. Sometimes we just like to make jokes.

                But I get it that there’s bad blood, so things are likely to be viewed through that filter right now.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                By the way, what was the texture of my comment? I’m hoping it was soft and gooey. I’ve always liked soft and gooey things.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Definitely soft and gooey. More like an ooze, really.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah, slimy. Perfect. With any luck I can market it to the kiddies.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                We’ve got to get back on track, you and I. I apologized for the “bad guys winning” thing. I was wrong there; I should have answered the question asked more directly and clearly than I did. When it comes right down to it, our views, in general, aren’t separated by that many degrees. We’re hung up on something. I’m not sure what it is. If it’s the Jesse thing, I take full responsibility for that.

                I just hope it isn’t something worse, like my liberal privilege. There’s no coming back from that 🙂Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                And for my part I realize I mis-read what your point was in critiquing my definition of markets, and apologize for that.

                I’m just really tired of the liberals here who love to announce what libertarianism is, then get all shocked when we tell them they’re wrong, and then get all huffy when libertarians turn the table on them. Don’t be that guy, or his variants, and we’re cool. (So, yeah, maybe it is that liberal privilege thing. Sorry.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                More like when you tell them they’re wrong. There are all sorts of crazy libertarians roaming the wilds. Liberals too. Conservatives? They’re all in the wilds these days. If the only problem we have is my liberal privilege from here on out, I’m alright with that. I can live with that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I had one of the OIC moments. When you say “liberal privilege” you really mean “liberalsplainin”, yes?

                That’s different, isn’t it?

                {{Now I have to reconsider…}}Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                And if you don’t get the distinction, that’s OK. You’re not a liberal.

                Here, I’ll explain it to you…Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure there are crazy libertarians, and not many libertarians here mind you saying so. It’s when you, any of you, imply that the craziest libertarianism is “the” libertarianism, when you conveniently choose not to differentiate, that we–I–say you’re wrong. Because it’s just as wrong as someone defining all liberals by their most whacked out extremes. Liberals want to shut down free trade because it’s bad for workers and the environment, want to ban the eating of meet, think we should only take herbal remedies because big pharma is trying to poison us, and think it’s government’s job to provide each of us with a living. You’d be suitably pissed if I started saying that’s what liberalism is (see Shazbot’s none-too-happy response to me plating that game above) but that is exactly what a lot of liberals do here in reference to libertarianism.

                I honestly wonder if you really get that. There seems to be a sense here that liberals really do get libertarianism (so who do those libertarians think they are telling them they’re wrong), combined with a sense that of course libertarians ar wrong about liberalism (so of course we liberals are justified in telling them they’re wrong).

                Either you recognize that and understand the problem it poses for reasoned debate, or you don’t. I maintain hope that you do, or will. Others I’ve written off.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Excellent comment James. I’m admonished and in agreement at the same time. And thanks for saying you think I can – and maybe even do to a certain degree – understand libertarianism. I like to think I do, and in the places I don’t I try to be honest about it. {{FWTW, or course.}}

                I think there’s a big difference between liberals and libertarians that liberals in general are probably not ina position to see all that clearly, namely, that libertarians are looking at what constitutes good policy, and liberals are looking at what constitutes good policy in a context, usually a political context. But – and here’s the problem – libertarians aren’t looking at policy thru the lens of politics. They’re just looking at policy, granted from certain starting points that liberals might be reluctant to accept, but policy nonetheless.

                For the most part, I don’t think liberals disagree with libertarian arguments as an ideal to strive for (in general!). I think the stumbling block is that achieving those ideals requires playing the game of politics, and as I said upthread, libertarians are sort of predisposed to reject political solutions to problems, or to try to minimize the effect of politics on policy decisions.

                So, that, I guess, is one – maybe the biggest – reason why a moderate sane liberal and a moderate sane libertarian are going to disagree about things. And end up talking past each other.

                On the flip side, the above reminded me of Jason K’s comments (not stated in this thread, I don’t think) that dismantling existing institutions to achieve more libertarian friendly policies and practices is something to be inherently cautious about. I say that to suggest that even a staunch libertarian is making a concession to the context of policy as it exists and the institutional structures which have evolved out of specific policies.

                The normative ideal of libertarianism is a goal worth striving for. I think lots of liberals agree with that. So the resistance, and in-fighting, and name calling, comes from some other place. And that’s the best I can do to explain what the place might be.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                +1 StillReport

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                – libertarians aren’t looking at policy thru the lens of politics.
                I’m not entirely persuaded, but I think I get what you’re saying, and I think it’s a common enough thing that you’re justified in making that argument.

                I get very impatient myself with idealistic arguments. I was talking to my environmental politics class the other day about fishing quotas that were imposed in Maine fisheries in the last decade. Instead of being individual transferable quotas, which most libertarians would probably find the best solution, the quotas were given to local fishing co-ops which parceled them out among their members. Locals were concerned that with ITQs the permits would eventually be sold to big corporations, and the traditional fishing culture of their villages would disappear. As I told my students, that’s not an economists ideal market solution, but it’s a solution that more easily elicited political support because it took account of other values, not easily priced in the market, that people cared about. A smart libertarian would take account of that and, in my opinion, say that this policy is–if not an ideal solution–nevertheless a good solution.

                For the most part, I don’t think liberals disagree with libertarian arguments as an ideal to strive for (in general!).

                I’m afraid that a number of liberals on this board cast doubt upon that. I guess it depends on whether they constitute the “most part” of liberalism or whether your type does. I hope it’s your type, but I’m pessimistic.Report

              • Avatar N.Elias.Kelly in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Hanley-

                I have gotten so used to parsing League-Slang that I at first thought you were giving a very profane lecture to your student’s on Maine’s fishery policy.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Don’t be too certain I wasn’t!Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick Bridges
      Ignored
      says:

      Good point. No liberal will ever be willing to agree with a libertarian, because no libertarian will ever say “laws making certain kinds of speech illegal? Sure, that’s a good idea!”Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        Uh, this card-carrying ACLU member liberal is for pretty maximal free speech, including things I regard as stupid, offensive, and awful. Just how maximal free speech? IMO Citizen’s United was correctly decided.

        Yelling ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater should still be illegal, though, but not because it’s bad speech, but because it’s incitement to riot – it’s not the speech that’s illegal, it the intent to cause chaos, mayhem, and the harm that results from that.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Patrick Bridges
          Ignored
          says:

          I am not a card-carrying ACLU member, but I *am* a liberal who also concurs with the CU decision.

          More interesting than yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater is yelling, “Down in front! The movie is starting!” in the middle of a fire. A whole different chaos can ensue.

          Seriously speaking, I think any limits on free speech should be handled through the civil court system when direct harm can be demonstrated. Repeat offenders might eventually justify a criminal action. I’m also a bit out there in thinking that we should be willing to consider demonstrable emotional and/or mental harm as we do physical harm; it seems off to me that I can’t physically torture you with my fists but I can mentally torture you with my words. But that just might be the crunchy PreK teacher in me…Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            And I disagree: Citizens United was definitely wrongly decided.

            But I also disagree about corporations having “legal personhood” in other senses.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to M.A.
              Ignored
              says:

              I think everyone should be free to spend their money as they see fit.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Had everyone started with an equal amount of resources, perhaps.

                Since that’s not the case, and since disparities have increased dramatically, no sale.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Interesting. So if 10 million poor people each have a dollar to contribute and rather than waste 42% of that dollar mailing in an individual contribution, they choose to pool their money and send $9,999,999.58 to their preferred candidate, you think they should be barred from doing so?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                How are they pooling their money otherwise? How do they get all 10 million dollars together with no overhead to start with?

                And 10 million poor people each contributing a dollar is still chump change compared to what the billionaires spent this election cycle, so I think my point is made.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to M.A.
                Ignored
                says:

                Even before CU, it seemed odd to me that there were limitations on speech and spending surrounding campaigning. I realize the concerns of not having those limitations; I just find the limitations themselves more concerning.Report

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

              A political cartoon is your evidence that the Supreme Court decided CU wrongly? There is a difference between policy analysis and constitutional analysis which you may be overlooking.Report

        • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to Patrick Bridges
          Ignored
          says:

          Yeah, my problem with the libertarian approach to speech is that they tend to say, “Well, Citizens United was correctly decided, and now we don’t have to worry about campaign finance anymore”. There are real problems with campaign finance, and you can’t jump from “freedom of speech” to “the current system works fine” (or even “disclosure is all we need”).Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dan Miller
            Ignored
            says:

            Except that libertarians didn’t, actually, say that. They said “CU won’t cause the problems that critics say it will”, and it turned out that they were right.Report

            • Avatar Dan Miller in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              Here is “Campaign Finance Reform: A Libertarian Primer”, written by the Chairman of Cato. A representative quote: “The proper answer to large expenditures for speech is either more speech or, if the existing system proves unworkable, a constitutional amendment. As for money, it’s just a symptom. We have a big money problem because we have a big government problem. By restraining the regulatory and redistributive powers of the state, we can minimize the influence of big money. Restoring the Framers’ notion of enumerated, delegated, and limited federal powers will get government out of our lives and out of our wallets. That’s the best way to end the campaign-finance racket, and root out corruption without jeopardizing political speech.”

              So basically, the only legitimate choices are either a) stop worrying about the corruption that could result from unrestricted donations to campaigns or b) adopt a radically limited government. How…convenient for libertarians, but for the non-libertarians in the audience, you’ll hopefully realize that this isn’t exactly convincing.

              There’s a long history of libertarians ignoring the problems caused by our campaign finance system, and it can’t be ignored.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dan Miller
                Ignored
                says:

                So what he’s saying is that campaign finance is a problem, but that laws about campaign finance won’t solve the problem, because campaign finance isn’t where the problem starts.

                That’s not “campaign finance isn’t a problem”. That’s “you don’t cure tuberculosis with Advil Cold And Sinus”.Report

      • Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name in reply to DensityDuck
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        says:

        Skokie, OH, dumbassReport

    • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Patrick Bridges
      Ignored
      says:

      “…a lot of the standard libertarian tropes (taxation is theft, government is coercion, I didn’t agree to be governed) have been shoved at me so many times […] As a result, when they’re off-handedly mentioned by more moderate realist libertarians, it puts our hackles up and pushes the arguments to extremes.”

      Good comments, and I do try to avoid using those temper triggers as much as possible. But sometimes they slip out in a desperate attempt to find some agreement on basic concepts to use as a starting point for debate. Much of the time, I just want the person on the other side of the discussion to show they understand why libertarians feel the way they do (even if he doesn’t agree with it).

      Consider this: when I pull out the “taxation is theft”, “government is force” stuff, this is what I usually get in response:

      “You libertarians are insane!”, or at best, “Please stop talking now; you’re just trying to insult me rather than having a real discussion.”

      The response I’m hoping for is:

      “OK, fine. Taxation is theft and government is force. But so what? Aren’t those things necessary in order to achieve the society we want when we can’t get everyone to participate voluntarily?”

      There we’ve built a common ground of sorts on which we can proceed with the debate (e.g., how much force is justified in what situations?).Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Brian Houser
        Ignored
        says:

        But lots of us don’t think taxation is theft. If you accept taxation is theft that is far from a neutral place to start. If its theft, then its wrong and not something we should anyway just because it works. Its not theft and is also part of having a working country (at least to me).

        Gov is force among many other things. That force is a good thing at times when it legitimately provides for common defense and locks up rapists. Its bad when it does all sorts of bad things we likely agree on.

        Building common ground is a good idea. My guess is a lot of liberals are trying to do the same thing with establishing the need for some sort of social safety net.Report

        • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          OK, see so we’re in agreement already on the force part.

          The most constructive response on the theft part would have avoided using the word “wrong” and instead said something like this: “the definition of theft is ‘unlawful taking’. Last time I checked, there are laws allowing taxation, so it can’t be considered theft.”

          So then I would know why you disagree with how I’ve used the word, and I can either agree to use some new term or phrase (which I will gladly do), or we can continue by debating on whether it’s actually legal or not (many libertarians would, but I find those arguments mostly pointless).

          (sheepish grin on) In the interest of fruitful discussion, I hereby declare I will no longer use the phrase “taxation is theft”. Instead it will be “taxation is the involuntary transfer of property from an individual or group to an organization which has been granted a monopoly on the ‘legal’ use of force.”Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Houser
            Ignored
            says:

            Yay, a definition that only works in America. There are countries in this world where more than 50% of the men own assault rifles. There are places in this world where the government lacks the manpower to actually stop corporations from waging their own wars. Some of these places are quite nice to visit, actually.Report

          • Avatar Roger in reply to Brian Houser
            Ignored
            says:

            Brian,

            I agree the second definition of taxation is much better than the first. The taxation is theft line is unproductive and divisive.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Brian Houser
            Ignored
            says:

            I take “Taxation is theft” to be a verbal no-op. It’s certainly true for some definitions of theft. You could just as well say that “Taxation is marklar” for some definition of marklar. It’s the definition of marklar that makes the statement interesting or philosophically useful.

            If your definition of theft implies that taxation is always immoral and cannot be justified, then your philosophy isn’t very useful. If your definition simply implies that paying taxes isn’t fun and we should design our system such that tax-paying is minimized subject to certain constraints, then your philosophy is trivially true and not very interesting.

            If there’s something else in there, I’m interested, but you’d have to do better than simply using the word “theft.” Normally when I read, “If we could just agree that taxation is theft…” I hear, “If we could just agree to use emotionally loaded terms that favor my position, we could really find some common ground.”Report

      • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Brian Houser
        Ignored
        says:

        How about a response of “Government IS force, especially when it protects the property claims of people whose privilege is based on prior atrocities”? I think liberals have a legitimate gripe when they say that libertarianism waves away thorny historical problems.Report

        • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Robert Greer
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          says:

          That’s all fair to say.Report

        • Avatar Roger in reply to Robert Greer
          Ignored
          says:

          Robert,

          I disagree. I do not support past atrocities, and support penalizing living transgressors and requiring them to compensate living victims. Are we thus in agreement. Or do you mean something else?Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Roger
            Ignored
            says:

            I wonder, if we can trace back current inequalities to past injustices, should those injustices be rectified even if the people who committed them, and the people against whom they were committed, are dead?Report

            • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Chris
              Ignored
              says:

              I wonder this too, and my experience is that right-libertarians bristle at even voicing this question.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                Wrong-Libertarian scope on this is “they are dead, I’m not them, I may be descended from them but so what.”

                Wrong-Libertarian thought on the matter is that every generation somehow starts off on a “level” playing field, which ignores reality yet again. If everyone actually DID start off on a level playing field every generation that’d be one thing but they don’t.

                The irony is that if you start to talk about inheritance taxes, or tax rates that would serve similar purposes and force those of the next generation of the upper crust, you’ll find out that Wrong-Libertarians will never go for it. And that’s not surprising, because the people bankrolling Wrong-Libertarian “thinking” are people like the Kochs.

                They’re not in it for the rights of everyone, just for the right of the oligarchy, and Libertarian “thinking” fits perfectly for that while simultaneously trying to deny doing so.Report

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

                Wrong-liberal thought is that past injustices echo down through the ages for eternity, so that we all have corrupted blood, and must have everything taken from us to compensate the descendants of those who were harmed.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Liberals don’t think everything must be taken from those noble, pure classes. I don’t know why you’re so acerbic and uncharitable (mendacious) tonight, but it sure ain’t flattering to your credibility.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                Meant to put a ? after “mendacious.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                Robert,

                Why single out my statement and not M.A.’s?Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                Because I pushed back against M.A.’s uncharitableness elsewhere in this thread and I don’t see a need to repeat myself.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                +1

                And M.A. does need to tone down the rhetoric and be more charitable.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Robert Greer
                Ignored
                says:

                Robert,

                Sorry, I didn’t see your pushback.

                But please understand my comment wasn’t meant to be serious at all. It was meant to be ridiculous. And that ridiculousness was mean to highlight some other ridiculousness.

                I’m not sure the highlighting worked.Report

            • Avatar Roger in reply to Chris
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              says:

              Chris and Robert,

              How do you suggest rectifying for sins of the grandfather?Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Government can’t rectify sins, Roger. Redistribution isn’t going to solve all the ills of historically-oppressed populations. All I’m asking is that libertarians and conservatives stop using facile arguments in favor of using government force to protect their privilege.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
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                says:

                perhaps how the people wnat it to be handled… given to the communities that were victimized…Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Roger, I dunno. Maybe the same way we’d rectify the sins of our fathers.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Seriously…. I am asking the same question I did of Kazzy the other day ( he answered). What are you suggesting?

                How do you suggest we improve the system today to compensate or adjust for past abuses?

                I am only half way through the paper you suggested Robert, so if the recommendations are there just let me know.Report

              • Avatar Robert Greer in reply to Roger
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                says:

                I have utopian ideas about not using violence to enforce property claims, but while I think this would mostly prevent perpetuation of past abuses, I’m not in favor of mass looting because I favor evolution over revolution. So my prescription would be multi-pronged: there should be increases in private charity and in integration of class groups, and right-wingers should stop kvetching when historically dispossessed groups happen to win a little something for themselves through the political process.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Robert Greer
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                says:

                I agree with the first two, Robert.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger, sorry it took me a while. I was away, and came back, and there were like 700 comments here, so I’d lost track of this one.

                My answer is in the form I’ve already given it: what happens to the children of a man or woman who makes his or her fortune illegally? Do you not take the money because it will harm them even though they aren’t responsible for the actions of their father or mother? Why stop there? If we can trace current inequalities to past injustices, why not rectify them in a similar way?

                Of course, my ideal answer would be, do away with property altogether. But I’m trying to be at least slightly more pragmatic.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Thanks Chris,

                Patrick and Kazzy and I discussed the same issue elsewhere in this mega thread and landed on a process of using impartial rules which are biased at the outset to the disadvantaged.

                Coercive redistribution is prone to self amplifying into a Hattfield McCoy situation.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                what happens to the children of a man or woman who makes his or her fortune illegally? Do you not take the money because it will harm them even though they aren’t responsible for the actions of their father or mother? Why stop there? If we can trace current inequalities to past injustices, why not rectify them in a similar way?

                Because at some point it becomes impossible to say how much of the current generation’s wealth is attributable to what their ancestor’s stole, and whether the victims’ descendants would actually have ever inherited any of their ancestors’ wealth had it not been stolen. It’s a purely pragmatic problem, from my perspective.

                Perhaps there’s also a statute of limitations type concern, as an ethical issue. I don’t know about that myself, but I can see someone making such an argument.

                Of course, my ideal answer would be, do away with property altogether.
                I’d really like to see you write an OP on this someday, and explain to me why it’s wrong for me to own my house and yard. It’s a mysterious thought to me.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Coercive redistribution may be prone to devolving into feuds, but I wonder, what are the current affects of inequality that traces back to injustice? Are they not also something to consider.

                I’m fine with everyone living by the same rules. I’m just not particularly fine with those rules being implemented in the middle of the game, after some people have already scored enough points to make a comeback impossible.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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                says:

                what are the current affects of inequality that traces back to injustice?

                That’s a tough question, isn’t it? On the one hand, my ancestors came here as religious refugees, driven out of Switzerland. They thrive pretty well, and although I think I’d have preferred to grow up in the Alps, I can’t say the oppression of my ancestors has done me any harm.

                On the other hand, a kid who grows up in the projects is far less likely to see real prospects for anything else, because kids just know what they see around them. And that means their kids are more likely than mine to also have to grow up in the projects. And their kids.

                So it can have no effect over generations, or it can have a huge effect over generations. But I think we need to look for specific effects, instead of just assuming them. And I think we need to be able to trace those effects fairly clearly generation by generation. As our ability to trace an effect weakens generation by generation, it becomes more difficult to say with certainty that it was the original oppression/inequality that caused today’s problem–there are, at that point, so many other variables that plausibly play an even bigger role.

                That’s not to dismiss it and try to lump everything into that latter category. It’s just to say that it’s a tough question.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                James, you’ve said elsewhere in this thread that for you, as for someone else (Blaise maybe? Damn, this is a big thread), equality of opportunity is the goal. Is it possible to have equality of opportunity, even with “impartial rules” (whatever those may be — I’m not sure they’re not a pleasant fiction), if everyone is starting on a different rung of the ladder? And is this not even more unlike “equality of opportunity” if the run on which one finds oneself is, at least in part, and perhaps in large part, a result of injustices at some point prior to the implementation, or at least equal enforcement, of those “impartial rules?” These questions, of course, are not unrelated the the ethics of you owning your house and the land on which it stands.

                I’ll put it another way. The general idea, I gather, is that in a market system with “impartial rules” (I’m going to have to keep putting that phrase in scare quotes, because I’m not sure I can utter it seriously otherwise), “a rising tide raises all ships.” But what if, when the tide begins to rise as a result of those rules, everyone starts out in different sized ships? Or if many ships are already well above the ships currently on the water line, and somehow they continue to rise too? This doesn’t look like equality of opportunity to me. It looks like a great inequality of opportunity that is excused because, for most people, the quality of life is greater now than it was before the tide started to rise.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris,

                I don’t think perfect equality of opportunity is possible, and I don’t think trying to create it would actually result in desirable outcomes. Perhaps it’s not the best term for me to use. What I really mean is that I want everyone to actually have a reasonable opportunity. Poor people can have reasonable opportunities; it’s not lack of wealth itself that destroys opportunity–too many poor people have succeeded for that to be the case. It’s certain conditions that are strongly correlated with poverty that destroy opportunity, like growing up in the projects, having shitty schools, not having food in your belly, suffering the stress of constant worry about being shot or assaulted, and so on.

                I grew up fairly poor at times. I remember going down to the fire station to get the government cheese we qualified for. I remember my mom near tears in the grocery store trying to figure out how she was going to feed her kids. I remember my parents worrying about how they were going to manage the house payment. And I remember my dad being ecstatic when he found a $20 bill tucked away in his wallet (the ’70s, when $20 meant something), because that tided us over until his next paycheck.

                But none of that limited my opportunity, because it never got worse than that, I lived in a safe small town, and I went to a reasonably good school. I have friends who grew up upper middle class and lower upper class, had far more than we did, and went to top tier private Catholic schools. Was my opportunity equal to theirs? No. Was it good enough? Yes.

                But right now I’m dealing with some African-American students we recruited from an impoverished place from a southern state I’ll not name. They’re driving me crazy, because despite having college diplomas they are not remotely prepared for college. Was their opportunity good enough? I don’t think so.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                James, I see that we’re going to head down different paths at this point, so let’s take a step back and talk about these “impartial rules.” What if, because the present inequalities are, to an extent, perhaps to a large extent, a result of past injustices, and since we’re interested in some approximation of equality of opportunity, even if they weren’t, we chose to make the rules less than impartial? What if, for example, we attached a certain amount of privileged status to certain disadvantaged groups? For example, along the lines of what Young argues. Can we start there?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Culture does a lot of heavy lifting. The most important thing you can do for your children is read to them.

                You can redistribute everything on the planet but, in, oh, two generations, the kids who were read to will be doing a *LOT* better than the kids who weren’t.

                In four, we’ll be 95% back where we started.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Chris,

                I can’t access the article until I’m back on campus, which won’t be until next Monday.

                But if you want to focus on impartial rules, I guess I need to know which ones in particular we’re talking about. I don’t know that I’m wedded in binding holy matrimony to the concept of nothing but impartial rules, but I’m certainly not open to ending all impartiality in rules.

                And I think that upfront we’re in agreement that we oppose non-impartial rules that specifically exist to benefit the better off?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                James, no, I don’t mean to make the rules 100% partial. I just mean to make them tilt a little in certain directions to counter the fact that the playing field, as it currently exists, tilts in others.

                I’m certainly opposed to existing structures that are biased towards the rich and powerfulReport

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Jay, argh, I meant to include this in my response to James, because the last thing this thread needs is more comments (someone write a new post so we can start a new thread!).

                Yeah, I know your position on the cultural aspect of it. My response here will be the same as it’s been elsewhere: the economics, politics, and cultural aspects of these inequalities, these imbalances of privilege, exist in a dynamic system in which the relationships are non-linear and operate over multiple time scales. Parents reading to their children is great, and will undoubtedly help, but a.) it will only go so far, and b.) getting to the point where parents can and will read to their children enough to make a difference is not simply a cultural issue.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris,

                I’m in agreement vaguely and generally. I don’t know if I’m in agreement specifically, because I don’t know what the specifics are.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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                says:

                James, once we’ve agreed that “impartial rules” are not ideal in the current context, we can start to work out the specifics of how to tilt the rules based on the tilt of the playing field. So at least we’re there.

                One of the first steps I’d proposed would be race-based solutions. Also, a transfer of money to not just schools but the entire educational system of poor areas.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, and free health care.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Ah, race based solutions. Tricky. I don’t like them. I think coal miner’s kids in Appalachia are lacking in opportunity every bit as much as the kid in the projects in the city. And I have friends from Appalachia who tell me that. But on the other hand, every time we make a program that’s not race based enough, it ends up serving the needs of whites much more than the needs of minorities, instead of the needs of whites and minorities. From a policy perspective, it’s very frustrating.

                But let’s say for constructive discussion purposes that I agree. How many generations does the program run? If Adam is the first generation of African-American kids to get the benefit of the program, I’m cool with that. Do his kids get the program, too? They shouldn’t need it, or at least as much, right? Do we disqualify minority kids whose parents benefited from the non-impartial rule (I wanted to write partial rule, but that reads wrong), so we can focus it on those who haven’t benefited (indirectly, through mom and/or dad) from it? Do we allow two generations but disqualify those who parents and grandparents benefited from it? Or do we just base it on race and keep it in place for….well, what’s our standard for deciding when the non-impartial rule has overcome the problem of the inter-generational effects of past inequality?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Brian Houser
        Ignored
        says:

        The response I’m hoping for is:

        “OK, fine. Taxation is theft and government is force.

        Well, on a very simplistic level, yes that’s true. But consider a scenario in which government is addressing only legitimate and real collective action problems. Eg, suppose a minimalist society in which criminals exist, and they violate rights and disrupt markets and just do bad things in general. What’s the remedy to that problem? Create disincentives to bad behavior by rounding up criminals and incarcerating them (or whatever). Who funds this entirely justified activity? Well, that’s a collective action problem that requires a solution, yes?, since it’s in every individuals self-interest to free-ride on everyone else’s contribution to a “police force”, yet it’s in everyone’s self-interest to have a police force.

        The options available to people in this society are to a) agree to a police force to ensure payment of the tax to fund the police force or b) not have a police force, which is inconsistent with the initial conditions. IF we opt for a) we’re now in “taxation is theft” land. But the tax is entirely justified by the society’s desire to prevent theft. So, open question: is requiring the payment of a cop-tax theft? Only on a really broad meaning of the term, one that isn’t standard, it seems to me.Report

        • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Stillwater
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          says:

          My point was that all along, I was just wanting a response like the one you just gave rather than “go away, you insane libertarian.”

          I’m not looking to get into a debate about libertarian solutions in this thread (although you certainly ask important questions). I lean more toward the minarchist section of the libertarian spectrum, so I don’t have much of a problem solving the problems you mentioned with courts and police and such (although I’d prefer they be kept localized as much as possible). If there are any pure voluntarists here, perhaps they can chime in.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Brian Houser
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            says:

            My point was that all along, I was just wanting a response like the one you just gave rather than “go away, you insane libertarian.”

            This is bidirectional.

            If “taxation is theft” pushes buttons that drive people to say, “go away, you insane libertarian”, then perhaps you ought not to start the conversation off thumbing people in the eye, that way.

            In the spirit of charitable debate, using language that encourages other people to participate constructively is better than using language that encourages other people to participate destructively. You want to listen charitably, but you also want to speak in such a way that you demand as little charity as possible from your reader.

            Generally.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Brian Houser
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        says:

        The problem is that the standard method of argument these days is to define the things you don’t like with negative terms; and then the argument doesn’t even need to happen anymore because, well, who can argue in favor of negative things?

        I mean, is someone really going to argue in favor of theft by force?Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to Brian Houser
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        says:

        Taxation isn’t theft.

        Taxation, per Oliver Wendell Holmes, is the price we pay for a civilized society.

        It’s not theft. It’s the cover charge to get into the nightclub that is America.

        So when you say “taxation is theft”, damn right I think you’re a nutjob.Report

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

          “Taxation is the price we pay for a civilized society” is rather simplistic in itself, since it doesn’t even begin to address the issue of what things we are taxes for (nuclear weapons, mass imprisonment and torture experts, how civilized), or what levels of taxation are and aren’t justified. You only think it’s a more sophisticated claim because it’s your own simplistic claim instead of someone else’s simplistic claim.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Patrick Bridges
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      says:

      Patrick, I understand what you’re getting at here:
      Coates wasn’t wrong about the heritage and tradition of this country being racist, but those kinds of statements don’t facilitate discussion. When said that way, many people think he’s saying that the most important part of this country’s heritage and tradition is racism, not just that *one component* of it is racism.

      Coates was clear, that racism is a part of the heritage, not all of it. Misogyny is a part of the heritage, not all of it. Genocide. But here’s the problem I’m struggling with, and I tossed and turned thinking on it last night — the people most likely to be discomforted by these facts are the people most likely to embrace the charm of the past without dealing with the pain; without realizing that the present doesn’t start from year zero, but is built on that past.

      For the libertarian/liberal argument, that distinction actually matters. I step into my daily life as a woman and encounter a system that’s often rigged against me in very subtle ways. I’m married to a musician, have spent much of my adult life in places where musicians work, and see first hand the weirdness black musicians face. And the progress that I see, that makes those things subtle instead of overt, is the result of government coercion; it’s emancipation and civil rights, suffrage. But — and here’s the essential thing — that coercion is us, it’s not foreign, it’s not imposed by anything or anyone except the people and the lawmakers they’ve chosen, working to make a more equal nation by ending the coercions of the past.

      This nation is still built on a foundation of racism, of misogyny, and those, too are forms of coercion. While those traditions are distasteful and discomforting, they ought be recognized to help keep their coercive hooks in our day to day dealing. So when I hear talk of ‘big government,’ of ‘coercion,’ of ‘taxes as theft,’ I’m most left feeling like I’m looking at someone unwilling or incapable of recognizing the coercion the government has ended, the theft of labor, of liberty, of rights while claiming they’re being treated as slaves were, as women were.

      They’re not.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
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        says:

        +1Report

        • Avatar Roger in reply to Patrick Bridges
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          says:

          PB and Zic,

          This comment started fine, but may I offer a different end point?

          Exploitation of others has been the dominating narrative of human history (pun intended). Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, privilege and rent seeking, and the abuse of the weaker by the stronger. This was true in Mesopotamia, China, Rome, Japan, Central America and everywhere else since the advent of agriculture. Defining the problem as a US issue, is misleading. It was a historic part of our nature which had to be overcome.

          The institutions and philosophy of the enlightenment pointed tentatively to ways out of this. The Netherlands, Great Britain, America and others began experimenting with more inclusive institutions. See Acemoglu, Pinker or Douglas North for multiple takes on these processes.

          The solution set seems to be a central monopoly on the use of coercion focused on using fire only to fight fire, along with inclusive, impartial institutions which encourage constructive competition and cooperation and discourage needlessly destructive processes.

          As a classical liberal, this is what I propose. My fear is that if the government takes too active of a role in using coercion to adjust outcomes (rather than stopping other coercion) that the history reveals it gets captured by competing interest groups and zero sum, us vs them rationalizations . Neither side wins, as the game shifts from positive sum to zero sum. If you all think I am wrong, please point out why.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Roger
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            says:

            The problem is that this lets the bad actors walk away with the spoils of their bad acts. African Americans and women still face a lot of discrimination in this country. African Americans and Hispanics still suffer disproportionately from poverty, and the poorer quality schools that going along with poverty in this country. And the poorer job advantages that result from that, and so on.

            Let me use an analogy from control systems. Proportional control is the basic tool in linear control systems, and provides stability in dynamic systems in the face of unwanted disturbances. Proportional control on it’s own, though, has its flaws – it can take a long time to stabilize, and it can permit long-term steady-state error for certain inputs. Adding a small amount of integral control to a proportional control system (a PI control system) can greatly improve the responsiveness of the system, and remove unwanted steady state error from the system, but too much integral control can lead to overshoot and instability. Derivative control can be added, too, (PID control) to compensate for the problems that come from integral control.

            We have a political/economic system in which a past disturbance has caused a steady state error that proportional control (the market) hasn’t been able to fix. And you’re saying we shouldn’t be allowed to use a small amount of integral control to fix it because a large amount of integral control is a bad thing. Color me unconvinced.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Bridges
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              says:

              Let a parabola labeled Market exist in the first quadrant with its zeros upon the X axis. Let the zenith of that Market parabola represent an optimally efficient amount of regulation upon that market. That regulation may take two forms, both internal and external.

              Proceeding along the X axis, the first zero represents no regulation at all. The market cannot exist: buyers and sellers have no confidence in it. It is anarchy. As we approach the second zero we see the formation of a totalitarian state economy. Markets cannot exist at either zero.

              The real world never actually reaches either zero. Black markets form to compensate for too much regulation, ad-hoc barter markets appear to compensate for too little regulation. Neither are truly efficient market structures. Market efficiency lies between these two zeroes.

              But in like manner, regulation is never optimally efficient. Recently, a fraud was detected against Citigroup’s ATM system. The lag time between an ATM withdrawal and the recalculation of the available balance allowed for the thieves to simultaneously withdraw money within the sixty seconds to balance the accounts.

              In the real world, optimal regulation is equally impossible, as impossible as total anarchy or total statism. You can bet Citigroup’s security crews are pretty embarrassed about this lapse.

              If the Libertarian complains about the right hand descending side of the parabola, correctly pointing out how over-regulation creates inefficiencies, the rest of us, who look at the ascending curve, believe external regulation are a necessary adjunct to efficient markets. Both are equally true.

              I don’t believe I’ll ever get a Libertarian to agree with what I’ve written here.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Let a parabola labeled Market exist in the first quadrant with its zeros upon the X axis.

                Of course its zeros are on the X axis! THAT’S WHAT FISHING MAKES THEM ZEROS!

                Sorry. Carry on.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                they could be on the y axis.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                No.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Heh. The Libertarian parabola would be placed with the zeroes on either side and the zenith exactly on the Y axis. Which would, of course, lead them to conclude NO REGULATION is best.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                Hmm. What is negative regulation?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                when the regulators actively participate in what they’re regulating…profiting outsize others because they’re the regulators and they write the rules to suit ’em.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Oh, it’s all negative. Even when it’s the only thing which makes markets work. The Libertarians hate it all, even when they grudgingly accept its necessity and boy howdy, that’s like trying to milk a bull around here.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Blaise, you’re proposing points in the second quadrant, where the X value (the amount of regulation, not its effect) is negative. What does that mean?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                I specifically excluded such points in the second axis. Markets will never actually reach the X axis: some form of barter or black market will emerge as X approaches 0. Absolute anarchy is practically impossible, so is absolute totalitarianism.

                In the real world, market participants will start demanding some sort of regulation. Even the most ardent Libertarians, for all my joking about them, do insist on some sort of sanction against Force ‘n Fraud. They’re quite serious about it, too. They’re not anarchists.

                And on their side, even the Liberals get angry with a totalitarian state. The zenith is sorta like Goldilocks’ porridge, not too hot, not too cold. Just right.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Heh. The Libertarian parabola would be placed with the zeroes on either side and the zenith exactly on the Y axis.

                On either side of the Y axis, i.e. one with positive X, and one with negative X.

                Never mind, the answer “what did you mean?” has been answered quite well.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                I’m having a little trouble visualizing that graph, but I think I get your point. Here’s where I think we’re having difficulties: libertarians (most) aren’t suggesting you can’t have any regulations; the question is who does the regulating. I contend the people in the marketplace are best suited to choose which regulations they want (they’re the ones that need to trust the market, after all). I go back to the eBay example: it manages to be pretty successful based on regulations it imposes, not the government (mostly).

                I agree there are other considerations when the market has external effects (pollution, etc.), but when those don’t exist or have little consequence, why not let the market regulate itself?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Houser
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                says:

                Ebay managed to be successful by manipulating the fourth estate. It wasn’t the best business model, but it didn’t have to be.

                A self-regulated market leads to one which necessarily exploits information-deprived folks. (okay, not really. you can be fair, it’s just not in your interest to be).

                An example: I show up with a credit rating of 700, and you do as well. We get signed up for two different loans (in fact, they don’t even bother telling me that I qualify for your loan, which is far better than mine.) You’re white, I’m black. There’s an information deficit here, wherein my friends all get the same loan rate, and so do your friends. Nobody sees the problem.

                So, Joe Consumer wants regulations.

                Joe Cheat does not, because he’s not going to abide by them in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Kim
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                says:

                I see your point about how there may be an incentive for the seller to hide the truth.

                However, in this day and age, isn’t that relatively unlikely? Won’t the news quickly get around?

                And how does eBay demonstrate this problem? I’m not seeing it. And, just out of curiosity, how did it become successful by manipulating the “fourth estate”?

                I think the much better arguments to be made for external regulations are the ones that counteract the problem of people not being able to enter the market in the first place. For example (yes, I’m giving you one here), Obamacare’s requirement that insurance companies include members with pre-existing conditions. But this is a slippery slope (“um, I’m feeling left out of the market for private jets!”).Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Houser
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                says:

                It took years for there to be a court case (North Carolina, in case you’re interested — also one of the blue states up on the northern coast.)

                I cited Enron, I cited lead-based paint on toys. The second is particularly egregious, as anyone who’s taken chem lab knows that yellow is only from lead. These are things that you could take millions to the bank on, if only you bothered to read a few publically available documents.

                Insurance Companies are another: since you have relatively few folks getting hurt in a given year, you can free ride on brand name for ages, without a problem. Hell, that’s Sears whole business model these days, with their repairmen (who used to be really something!).

                I could write a whole book on people cheating. I just bought some potting soil this year. Well, it SAID it was potting soil, at any rate. That was a flat out lie. I had it tested by a friend of a friend, and it turned out to be poorly composted newspaper, plus miracle gro. Aka HORRIBLE to grow carrots in.
                Now, that’s actual fraud. What they claimed to be selling isn’t what they actually were. But it won’t be detected by most people, because most people grow flowers in the stuff, and miracle gro works decent nearly by its lonesome for selling that.

                Ebay spent 75% of its original capital on advertising. Then their advertisers wrote up news articles, and got the Washington Post to publish them (the Post predictably whined for graphs so that they could frontpage the article). The Post ran the articles as is, no changes, no research.

                I’m not saying that demonstrates market failure, it’s just that most libertarians seem to think that a market will always produce the bestest most awesomeness and better products too. Which is ridiculous. I’d rather write some rules to make a “bestest awesomest and cool stuff too” market, rather than going with one on FIRE, and bound to go bust.

                General Aviation costs about $100 an hour. No TSA for you! 😉
                (something that’s reasonable, imnsho).Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                But I don’t understand how you think regulation would have solved these problems. How would you have done things differently if you were given free reign over setting regulations? You act like all these problems magically make themselves known before they occur. These things all tend be reactions, not preventative.

                Horrible things happened on 9/11, so at great expense and inconvenience, we beef up Homeland Security and implement the TSA and all that, and have we really prevented anything? It didn’t bring back the thousands that died that day. And do you really think any terrorist worth his weight in oil is going to really try that again, even without the TSA?

                Libertarians don’t claim free markets are the magical saviors of the universe; just that the more you interfere with them, generally the fewer outcomes they produce, and those outcomes may have included some pretty great ones. Do you really have the conceit to think you can magically dream up the best outcome better than the market can figure it out by trying things?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Brian, this is the second (and I may have missed others) time you’ve brought up the issue of regulation not initially preventing things.

                That’s because there are free markets. Typically it’s not until harm’s done — until we see that lead paint lowers children’s IQs, that dioxin pollutes rivers, that drunk driving leads to frequent accident and death, that we regulate. Liberals don’t go around anticipating stuff that might go wrong and try to regulate that, they examine what has gone wrong and try to come up with a frame work for preventing it in the future.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess what I’m asking is, is regulation really all it’s cracked up to be if it really mainly prevents things after the fact–things that would probably be prevented by the market anyway? I mean, you’re not giving consumers much credit for paying attention to those bad things that happened. Once the dangers of lead paint are exposed, are companies really going to keep on using it, and if so, why will consumers keep buying it?

                It seems to me that a lot of problems are avoided if the responsibility is kept with the producer and the consumer for making wise decisions. I can see a better case made for government services that attempt to educate rather than regulate, because this still leaves choices open. In that case, government is providing information rather than making value judgments.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Brian,
                a market is simply a game. Sometimes it makes “good outcomes” (herein defined as “lots more cool shit”), sometimes it makes really fucking stupid outcomes — building houses that need $90,000 worth of work within the first five years of life.

                In an ideal market, I regulate stupid outcomes. Do my best to break up oligopolies, and where oligopolies form, at least consider making the whole thing a governmental thing.

                A whole LOT of regulations come about after the fact. People die, and then rules get made. Because 50 people died in a building in Georgia, we have mandatory fire escapes. Saved millions of lives since.

                I want to let the markets have the free-est possible hand.

                Yanno what I want? A damn high inheritance tax (after the first $6million). Because the worst person to play a game against is someone who has no fear.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Brian,
                I love EnergyStar too. That one regulation saved billions of dollars, by showing people exactly where their financial interest lies. Are there other places we could do the same thing? As Efficiently?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                And that’s exactly where Libertarianism fails. Yes, you’re right, on your side of the graph, external regulation attenuates efficiency.

                But you’ll never, effing EVER, admit the other side of the parabola. It doesn’t fit into your worldview. The people in the marketplace will not trust each other to work out what’s best. They will always turn to a third party trusted by both, with the ability and mandate to enforce those regulations.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Picture the Laffer curve, with the X axis being amount of regulation and the Y axis being, say, wealth creation. Blaise is proposing that Y goes to zero at the endpoints (no regulation or completely suffocating regulation) and reaches it maximum in between.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s where I think we’re having difficulties: libertarians (most) aren’t suggesting you can’t have any regulations;

                Yes, that strawman is his constant companion.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay, but what is the difference between “libertarianism plus regulation” and “neoclassical or right-leaning liberalism”?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t directly answer that question because there’s too much of it I don’t understand. My response is that it’s a mistake to think libertarianism means an opposition to all regulation. Libertarians almost all believe in, at a minimum, a legal system where those who are harmed by violence, theft, or fraud, can seek recompense. To me that’s a form of regulation.

                For my money, the key is just that libertarians are far more skeptical about any further regulations, and would set a higher bar for finding them justified than would liberals. So we’re more likely to say no to a particular regulation, and we’re more likely to demand more in the way of justification of particular regulations. It seems that that comes off as just being opposed to all regulations, but it’s not really.

                To me it’s just exactly the same as the way liberals behave when it comes to regulation of our private lives. It’s not that you all will say no to any and every possible regulation of our private lives, but you set a very high bar for justifying such regulations. And then conservatives accuse you of all just being libertines who favor having children snorting coke off the cocks of gay hookers on Main St., and you think, “What? Where the hell’d you get that idea?”

                And we libertarians are right there with you, every step of the way. The difference is that when the talk turns to economics, we keep acting exactly the same way, and you guys apply a different decision rule.

                Maybe you’re actually in the right. Maybe the two domains are different enough that different decision rules should be employed. But I don’t believe so (although I do think economic regulations are more likely to pass the bar than regulations of our private lives).

                So when you find us puzzling, just say to yourself, “they treat the economic realm the same way they treat the civil liberties realm,” and you’ll mostly have it. That doesn’t mean you’ll agree, of course, and I’m not demanding agreement. But I think you’ll understand us more readily and accurately.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you got it right when you said that liberals think different rules should be applied. A person with no morals in the bedroom at absolute worst, may give some a few hundred people diseases. A person with no morals in the boardroom can literally destroy economies and end the livelihoods of whole regions.

                So yes, we say, as liberals, for the well-being of society, you don’t have complete economic freedom. It’s more important you pay a decent wage and follow these rules than the maximum amount of money possible.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Jesse,

                That’s fine. I’m not arguing that point here. I’m happy for you to hold that position against any arguments I might make.

                I’m only talking about how liberals can better understand libertarianism, and I worry that by jumping too quickly to arguing about those positions you’re missing that point, so that next time around you’ll once again misunderstand us.

                Instead of seeking just to refresh the argument, please just listen for a moment.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                It seems fair to summarise the Libertarian perspective as a necessary check to over-regulation.

                I might also add a fairly innocuous addendum to the BlaiseParabola, see if you can agree with this, too. Purely external regulation trends toward statism and purely internal regulation trends toward anarchy. At the zenith, market participants enjoy a bare minimum of regulation and bystanders (read taxpayers) are glad enough to see sufficient regulation, lest the market go apeshit again.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Purely external regulation trends toward statism and purely internal regulation trends toward anarchy.

                I hope you’ll allow me some time to mull that over.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Shazbot5
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                says:

                The zenith is the point of optimal possible efficiency at that point in time, which again is dynamic.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                A fellowship at the Cato Institute? 🙂Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Damon:

                “All you do is insert yourselves into MY life, telling me what I can and can’t do:”

                That’s what I wind up getting from Damon, from Brian. And I’ve even gotten it from you.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                James,

                “the key is just that libertarians are far more skeptical about any further regulations, and would set a higher bar for finding them justified than would liberals”

                So both liberals and libertarians believe economic (and personal) autonomy is -other things equal- intrinsically good. And both liberals and moderate libertarians believe that it is sometimes justified to limit a particular economic freedom (speaking loosely), e.g. to break up a monopoly, enforce patents, regulate pollution, provide a safety net of some sort, etc.

                Extreme libertarians (Nozick, say) do not believe that limitting economic freedom is ever just.

                So therefore, isn’t it true that 1.) moderate libertarians and liberals agree on principles, while moderate libertarians and extreme libertarians disagree on principle? And isn’t it also true that 2.) names like “libertarian” or “liberal” are best thought of as names for political philosophy’s, i.e. labels for sets pf preferred principles of justice?

                Well, if you agree with 1. and 2., then -and there is a deductively valid argument here- then you have to agree that you and Jason and all other so-called moderate libertarians ought to call yourselves “liberals.”

                In simpler terms, you agree with the essential claim of liberalism -and disagree with the essential claim of extreme libertarianism- that we need to balance worries about maximizing autonomy with other goals: especially a minimum of utility and a minimum of equality.

                So why not describe yourself as a liberal who favors markets and market-like structures (what they call “neoliberalism,” or like what Matt Yglesias accepts) with a minimum of gov’t structuring?

                If you did this, you wouldn’t get attacked for being an extreme libertarian anymore. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Also, is this a simpler way of stating your disagreement with what most liberals believe: You believe that markets should be regulated (in all or almost all cases) less than they are and this would create more equality, overall utility, and economic autonomy. While most liberals want more regulation in too many economic spheres.

                Of course, Yglesias et al want charter schools and the end of all sorts of licensures and housing regulations. So you aren’t alone as a deregulation loving liberal. You just have to argue -which you often do or try to do- that deregulation is a good liberal policy. This would be easier if you identified as philosophically liberal.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Now what I’m secretly hoping is to make some logical (at least algebraic) synthesis of Libertarian and Liberal thought processes, so’s the worthy Jason can write it up in Libertarian-ese.

                The Progressive Liberals, (though this is a gross generalisation) tend to push for more regulation, or to rephrase it more charitably, more effective regulation of markets. This can be carried too far and is a distorted view of capitalism, witness all the nonsense about Greedy Capitalists and 99%ers. Fatuous nonsense with just enough of the glue of truth to make for dandy sloganeering.

                Capitalism works, folks. But as with any force we wish to control, we must regulate it. That’s so obvious it’s a goddamn tautology. The Libertarians want to reduce regulatory friction and that’s a useful goal. Capitalism needs to evolve and regulation must evolve along with it.

                Where more risk appears, we need more regulation. Where we can reduce risk, we can reduce regulation. The first step to effective regulation is the effective and timely promulgation of accurate information to all parties involved.

                All this is so obvious, I can’t believe I’m saying it: but as surely as the market participants rely on that information, they rely on the bare minimum of regulation to give them confidence in that market, that promises will be kept, that secret collusion can be prevented, that corrupt regulators can be detected and punished, in short, that markets can be kept competitive.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
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                says:

                Shazbot,

                One of the things that distinguishes us is that I don’t worry about whether less regulated markets would create more equality. Equality in economic outcomes is a distinctly liberal goal, whereas libertarians are pretty neutral about it. If it happens, that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s also fine. Our goal is improved well-being for all, and if my economic status improves next year, I don’t really care if Bill Gates’ economic status improvement once again outstrips mine by unfathomable amounts.

                And for my money, the effort to define us out of libertarianism is a shell game. I’m not at all interested in telling others how to define themselves, and I’m even less interested in having others tell me how to define myself.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                James,

                I mean a mimimum of equality of opportunity. (Which all liberals believe in, not equality of outcome, which only few liberals believe in.)

                Surely you’re overstating your apathy about inequality. Surely you care about some minimum of equality, especially if we mean equality of opportunity.

                Imagine a world where fair, unregulated market transactions result in one super-corporation (owned by a few hundred people) possessing all the wealth in the U.S. Let’s call it Mother-Corp. (You may think such a thing is implausible, but this is a hypothetical, designed to test whether you care about equality at all, just as Nozick’s Wilt Chamberlain case is a hypothetical.) Everyone else owes Mother-Corp money and Mother-Corp uses those debts to control virtually everything. The owners of Mother-Corp live like kings and everyone else lives in abject poverty. The owners send their children to a special business school that is very expensive and no other child of regular parents can afford it. To earn enough money to get out of debt or prevent going into debt would require going to that school.

                Is this a just society? (Nozick would say yes, BTW, because any result of free trades is always just.) My guess is that you would say no, on grounds of equality. It isn’t fair that the poor children can’t go to the school that would allow them to succeed only because of their parent’s economic station in life. If you agree with that you believe that considerations of equality (especially equality of opportunity) at least can trump a set of individual’s right to not be taxed or have their wealth redistributed.

                I get that you think in the actual world, as a matter of fact, redistributive measures are not helping or are making the problem of inequality (especially of opportunity) worse.

                But my guess is that you believe children who are born into poverty who are blind or disabled should be given economic assistance (to help them become educated, which can be expensive for disabled children, and to help them compete in society).

                And the money for such programs has to be transferred from somewhere. So, you do believe in taking money from the rich to help the poor have equal opportunities to succeed. No?

                If not, you are an extreme libertarian like Nozick, who won’t redistribute resources society to help the blind and the disabled wo are born poor have a fair shot at success.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean a mimimum of equality of opportunity.

                Not of outcome? Then, again, why are you not a libertarian? Because it sounds like you want just what we want.

                As to your hypotheticals, I’m not going to engage them because you seem to want to draw where only extreme libertarians count as libertarians. If I don’t pass the Nozick test, I’m not a libertarian. I reject that idea.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                MotherCorp would collapse under its own weight. Because it faced no competition, it would never respond effectively to changing consumer demands for this ‘n that. It would start issuing loathsome Five Year Plans and suchlike.

                The Economic Barons of MotherCorp would need to build castles with moats. Their own standard of life would quickly plummet, however grand it might seem in comparison to the serfs. Since MotherCorp could stifle all the competition aborning, innovation would start looking like the Book of Kells, beautifully done work but almost completely illegible.

                And soon enough, as with all monocultures, a plague would arrive to sweep it away. Or like the dodos, a few sailors would arrive and eat these fat, flightless birds and I’ll bet my life they were pretty damned tasty and we’d never hear of MotherCorp again.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Shazbot,

                Another way to respond to your hypothetical is as such…

                If free enterprise led predictably and consistently to bad results, pragmatic libertarians would not support it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger,
                If I understand what Shazbot is arguing (and of course I may be wrong, and I welcome him to correct me), I think your response demonstrates that these so-called “pragmatic libertarians” must actually be liberals.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Re: Blaise at 5:22 p.m.

                I’m on board with that. I think we’ll still argue about which specific regulations are valuable or not, but as a general–but not uselessly vague–statement, I’m totally on board.Report

              • Avatar Shazbot5 in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                James,

                I can’t get your link for some reason. (Probably my bad.)

                We could choose the term “liberal” or “libertarian” for the philosophical principles we believe.

                But given that a.) the vast majority of Americans (and English speakers more generally) associate the term “libertarianism” with what we are calling “extreme libertarianism,” or Nozick’s view; and b.) given that the majority of English speakers associate “liberal” with a belief in economic and social autonomy that is limited occasionaly for the sake of utility or equality of opportunity; and c.) we won’t be able to change how most speakers use the term only how we use the term, isn’t it true that it is wiser to fit our use of terms like “liberal” or “libertarian” to society’s use.

                I mean you could call yourself a “theocrat,” too, but that isn’t how society uses the term.

                In general, you agree with liberals that economic autonomy is not the only principle of justice. You think utility and equality of opportunity are also important. But “liberalism” is the name that society uses for a broad family of views that try to blend acceptance of those three principles together. (Rawlsian liberalism is one such blend. There are others.) So why not choose a term that other users of the terms “liberalism” and “libertarianism” will be able to hear and correctly glean information about your principles? (If you use the term “liberal” like others do, you might find that people stop misunderstanding your views. Indeed, maybe it is partially your fault -sorry that sounds aggressive- that people keep misunderstanding your position. Maybe you are using labels differently than society.)Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Shazbot,

                Here’s the URL.

                As to your question, I regularly consider dropping the term libertarian, not because I think it’s inappropriate, but because, as you note, society’s an ass. (I may have paraphrased there.) Please allow me to say that it’s particularly frustrating when folks like you appear to use society’s tendency toward being an ass to excuse your own misuse of the term.

                But if I dropped the term, I most assuredly would not start calling myself a liberal. Once upon a time, 20 years ago, I did, and the term fit. Today it’s like putting on one the suits I had 20 years ago; it just doesn’t fit at all. (I lie; I didn’t own a suit 20 years ago. But today I have 4 suits, and none of them fit.) Sorry, I’m with liberals on civil liberties, but on most other things you can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned (and I mean that in the nicest possible way, as someone who doesn’t believe in hell).

                If I chose another term it would by polycentrist. And I’d spend just as much time explaining it.Report

              • Avatar Turgid Jacobian in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean a mimimum of equality of opportunity.

                Not of outcome? Then, again, why are you not a libertarian? Because it sounds like you want just what we want.

                So was the opportunity really equal between Barbara Pierce Bush and, say, my wife, born to an ordinary Joe and Jeanne?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t know what a “polycentrist” is, but the term sounds like something I would want to identify as.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Tod,

                Ironically, it’s an idea originally developed within communist theory. Essentially it means having multiple, and potentially overlapping, centers of political authority. It’s really a form of federalism, in which policy decisions are made at the level of all affected stakeholders (rather than being imposed from above). That would leave a lot more local authority than is currently the case. And so I often get liberals sneering, “so you’d allow southern cities to re-enact segregated schools.” No, we have a Constitution that guarantees certain fundamental rights, and I’d stick with that. But that doesn’t stop the liberal sneering, I’ve found. And it means you have to allow other communities to do things you personally find very distasteful. For example, Jessie gave me the impression that he’s so opposed to vouchers for private schools that he would try to ban it everywhere, even if the people in that school district overwhelmingly wanted it. I’d allow it, even if it turned out to be a phenomenally bad idea, because the stakeholders should get to make the choices that affect them, and I’m not a stakeholder in their community.

                But here’s the thing, it wouldn’t be wholly honest for me to call myself a polycentrist and pretend that I don’t think of myself as libertarian, because polycentrism is very compatible with libertarianism. If a bunch of people want to start a commune, that’s fine with the polycentrist and fine with the libertarian. My community wants to ban strip clubs, street parking at night, and business signs bigger than 3 feet by 5 feet–I’m dubious about whether any of those is necessary, but I’m fine with letting my community have the authority to do so, and not letting either the state nor the federal government make that decision for us.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Thus, revealing another difference liberals and libertarians, James. You put the possible educational future of thousands of children on the same level as whether or not a business can have a sign that’s x inches tall outside of their office.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                We also think it’s like some kind of job where it’s possible to judge whether someone’s doing a good job or not.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                I think you can measure teachers fine, but not based on BS standarized tests and business school metrics I think don’t really apply to other peoples jobs either. The difference is the people in the cubicles took the BS business school “systems” lying down and the unions are actually fighting against them.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Good lord, Jessie, you really aren’t interested in a discussion, are you? There are any number of ways you could have phrased that, but you chose to phrase it in the “you don’t care at all about the children!” way. So you leave no real opening for discussion because you’ve already put the worst spin on it.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                Won’t somebody pleeeeeeeaase think of the children!

                Sorry, had to be said.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                We libertarians think of children all the time. Sweet, tasty, children. Some like free range children best, but I like mine plumped up in a small cage for maximum tenderness.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Shazbot5
                Ignored
                says:

                James, that comment just earned you an extra beer… er, ale.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Brian Houser
                Ignored
                says:

                Alan Greenspan, 1994: “there is nothing involved in Federal regulation which makes it superior to market regulation.”

                Alan Greenspan, 1997: “There appears to be no need for government regulation of off- exchanged derivative transactions.”

                Alan Greenspan, 2002 post-Enron: “We do not believe a public policy case exists to justify this government intervention.”

                Alan Greenspan, 2008: “Bank loan officers, in my experience, know far more about the risks and workings of their counter parties than do bank regulators.”

                Alan Greenspan, 2009: “Oops.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to BlaiseP
                Ignored
                says:

                Blaise,

                Your parabola sounds right to me. An unregulated market as you define it here is an absurdity. I also agree that the optimal amount of regulation is probably constantly changing due to feedback effects on the success of regulation at discouraging cheating vs the costs of the regulations.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Nunc dimittis! Many thanks, Roger.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty sure I agree with it as well. I haven’t seen it put in quite those terms before, so I don’t want to endorse it without thinking about it for a while. But I like it at first glance.

                Exchange is a strategy with hoped-for benefits, some of which can be positive-sum, that is, when an exchange produces a more efficient allocation of goods. The likelihood of that happening reaches a maximum at some point between zero regulation and totalitarianism. I think I can agree.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jason Kuznicki
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                says:

                Gee, but Blaise said no libertarian would ever agree to it. How is it possible that we have not one, but two libertarians in good standing agreeing to it?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                By God, I did get y’all to agree to my vision of optimal regulation. And that’s worth any amount of good-natured scoffing from y’all.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                At no point did Hanley ever say that regulation was never required, or that all markets would function better without it.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                STFU Duck. The smart people are talking now.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s funny, Blaise, is that you seem to think you have change anyone’s mind, rather than presenting a model with which they were already in agreement.

                Nobody here’s in real disagreement with the general model. The disagreement is in the details of the parabola’s shape, who’s doing the regulating, and what form the regulations take.

                It’s like arguing about the Yankees. We all agree they suck; we’re just arguing about whether they suck as bad as Hitler or only as bad as bin Laden.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s funny, Blaise, that you tell Duck to STFU in response to one of his rare clear and inarguably factually true arguments.

                I urge you to go back and re-read it. He’s exactly, 100%, right. And half our disagreement would disappear if we could just get that fact squared away.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                James now uses baseball metaphors. I thunk my work here is done.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                The Yankees are a baseball team? I thought the word was just a hate metaphor.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Truth is, I brought this parabola up before. Some months back. Never got anyone to agree with it. All I got from your argumentative ass was something about Billionaire Arsonists. So excuse me for remembering that moment. It was easily google-able.

                But memories are short around here and wit is in short supply.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, your parabola argument wasn’t interesting enough to elicit a response. The billionaire arsonists claim was.Report

              • Avatar Major Zed in reply to James Hanley
                Ignored
                says:

                Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a good discussion of what we mean by “regulation.” A broad agreement in principle, but I’ll bet a lot of disagreement lurking. When are price controls justified? How much power should an administrative board have to decide what the rules mean? Etc.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
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                says:

                Roger’s comment is really profound. 😉Report

            • Avatar Roger in reply to Patrick Bridges
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              says:

              PB,

              Excellent response as usual.

              First, I will answer as I did to Kazzy and Robert earlier that actual sins need to be rectified. Exploiters should be punished where practical and victims compensated by the transgressors.

              But your model reflects the truth that there are wakes from earlier actions which have lasting effects. The debate then goes to the coerciveness necessary to correct this. To grossly oversimplify, I suggest we agree to institutional rules which inherently tend to correct for this. My metaphor to Kazzy was the NFL draft. The rules are set up impartially that the worse teams get first pick. An example of how this could work is to provide larger vouchers to poor parents. Another is where we agree to a flat tax with a large deduction that is structurally progressive. Another is to develop social insurance programs that are means tested.

              I could go on with all the caveats I normally do about competing institutions, responsibilities for those getting aid, opt outs, local vs national, supermajorities and such, but the point I want to make is that rules can be impartial, non coercive and self correcting.

              I would also be very reluctant to structure this racially. It should be based upon actual standing, not skin color. My grandson does not deserve special treatment just because his birth certificate says black and Hispanic. There are truly disadvantaged kids of all races out there and they should be treated fairly and impartially based upon their standing, not their race.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                +1. And when you pitch this to most black folks out there, they think it over for a moment, and say “so I get to keep my piece of the pie, share with some redneck from WV, AND get the conservative racists off my back? Good Deal!”

                I really wish such things were possible.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                To grossly oversimplify, I suggest we agree to institutional rules which inherently tend to correct for this.

                And funny thing is, we used to have them. But they look like the tax rates we had in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

                And watch the Libertarians howl when Liberals point out how taxes are at an all time low and say hey, maybe we should go back to some of the earlier rates…Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                I find approaches like you suggest that bias based on outcomes appealing, too. Part of Zic’s point is that a lot of those sins continue today, but are hard to quantify or prove and thus prevent. You could argue this as *more* reason to bias on outcomes, not less – while we cannot see the sins themselves, we can see their impact in aggregate, and correct based on that.

                I like minimum incomes, EITC, progressive income taxes, and negative income taxes (as Jason suggests, IIRC) for exactly that reason. I’d prefer a system that was much stronger there than today, even at the expense of reducing direct assistance programs somewhat. Finally, I’ll note that many, particularly conservatives but also some libertarians, complain about rewarding bad behavior, welfare queens, and socialist Kenyan anti-colonialism when some suggest biasing government assistance based on outcomes.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Patrick Bridges
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                I think your concern about bad incentives is always valid, but would address them with my various listed caveats. As Blaise has pointed out quite well, there is no perfect system.

                I wonder if the other libertarians agree with this position on correcting for past imbalances?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Roger
                Ignored
                says:

                Roger, it’s not just ‘past imbalance.’ It’s imbalance that, like kudzu vine, grew roots nearly impossible to eradicate long before we decided there was an imbalance. We can pull the vine, but the roots remain, and eventually sprout new vines. That’s why I said we can’t start at year zero.

                The imbalances factor into the assumptions we make. Think of a movie from the 1950’s, where it’s presumed okay to make fun of a woman’s driving or to presume there are jobs she cannot do. That’s why folks get offended at ‘dog whistle’ language like food stamp president. That’s why the Willie Horton ads worked. That’s why Hilary Clinton and Condi Rice have to spend two hours getting dressed for public, while their male counterparts can simply get dressed. Institutionally, we see it in incarceration statistics for black men, in pay disparity for women, in poverty rates for Latinos. Isn’t it possible that this is a continued and ongoing form of coercion that takes time to work out of our assumptions? And if we don’t work it out, then it perpetuates without check.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                zic,

                Is working it out of our assumptions more dependent on government action or more dependent on social action?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Andrew Sullivan just linked a few very interesting articles on this subject, for example: http://www.techyville.com/2012/11/news/unemployed-black-woman-pretends-to-be-white-job-offers-suddenly-skyrocket/#

                I like the idea of replacing race or gender targeted programs with outcome-biased approaches, but it would have to be *much* more progressive than anything we have today and, I suspect, than most conservatives or libertarians would be willing to plausibly entertain.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                @James: How would you suggest we address this problem? Just let the market work it out in the long term, eventually while minorities and women continue to pay the real price of ongoing discrimination and bias?Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                James, I think it depends on both. It took government action to give my grandmother the right to vote. It took social action to put Margaret Chase Smith in the Senate. But I still had to battle for pay equity in the 1980’s and 90’s. I still found I got paid less for freelance writing then male writers.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                Does government operate independently of social action?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Uh, I’m not sure what you’re getting at, James. As numerous studies and anecdotal links (like I’ve shown above) illustrate, there are still huge problems with discrimination that bias the market – all hail – against women and minorities. Decades of social action, market forces, and government action have reduced that, but by no means eliminated it.

                Are there policies you’d advocate to lessen the impact of the biases in the market on women or minorities, or do you think should we should ask them bear the burden of that bias them while those the bias in the market favors (like me!) continue to acrue the benefits of that bias in the market?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                We have a democratic government. Does it make any social progress that is not desired by a large segment of the demos? Does it make sense to talk about government being progressive on these issues independently of people outside of government taking the lead and pushing them to do so? And if not, then any time we talk about government doing these things, aren’t we really implying that the motive force for these progressive things is already happening….out in the private world outside government?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Generally, of course in a democratic government, government action proceeds from a large number of the relevant population pushing it to do so. That’s not always the case, however. To cite two examples, I imagine most of the population of Louisiana would still love to have teacher-led prayer in public schools, and Ole Miss didn’t desegregate itself based on the wishes of the majority of the local or state populace.

                Real discrimination and bias still exist and still bias the markets today, decades after women and minorities became “equal” citizens in the market. Do we do nothing about it and let the market “eventually” fix it while real people are penalized by this bias? If not, what should we do about it?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Sure, the change is spotty, but would Louisiana have had change forced on them by the government if the populace of a number of other states had not changed its views?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes the courts are out in front of the populace.

                Your turn.


                394 Patrick Bridges November 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm
                @James: How would you suggest we address this problem? Just let the market work it out in the long term, eventually while minorities and women continue to pay the real price of ongoing discrimination and bias?

                397 Patrick Bridges November 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm
                Are there policies you’d advocate to lessen the impact of the biases in the market on women or minorities, or do you think should we should ask them bear the burden of that bias them while those the bias in the market favors (like me!) continue to acrue the benefits of that bias in the market?

                399 Patrick Bridges November 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm
                Real discrimination and bias still exist and still bias the markets today, decades after women and minorities became “equal” citizens in the market. Do we do nothing about it and let the market “eventually” fix it while real people are penalized by this bias? If not, what should we do about it?
                Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Gotta go to bed now, but I’m with Peter Finley Dunn, “th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.”

                More seriously, in my former life as a student of constitutional law, I was deeply influenced by this book.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I look forward to your answers to my questions.Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                “I imagine most of the population of Louisiana would still love to have teacher-led prayer in public schools.

                Ooo, that would be a delicious assertion of states’ rights if they went ahead and did it (in effect nullifying Everson v. Board of Education and consequently incorporation doctrine).Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re talking state’s rights and Louisiana, the case you should probably keep in mind is Plessy v. Ferguson.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmmm, that may have been a little edgier than I meant or you deserved, Brian. Talk about state’s rights and nullification, particularly w.r.t southern states, makes me a little punchy. :/Report

              • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Touché.

                Yeah, I’m not going there. Not tonight, at least. [insert maniacal laugh]Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                Patrick,

                I’ve been a bit oblique, but my point is that relying on government to fix things because the private sector is failing isn’t really so straightforward. If the private sector is failing, that means there’s little public demand for whatever good social outcome you want; if there’s little public demand, then there’s little pressure on government, and little incentive for a democratically responsive government to act.

                So thinking government takes the lead in these things is to buy into a myth. Government will only act on these things once there is sufficient demand among the citizens; i.e., in the private sector.

                My point is that government and market are ultimately based on exactly the same foundation–the mass of the public. So if the market isn’t making any strides towards solving a social problem, government isn’t likely to, either, because there is insufficient public demand for a solution.

                That’s not to argue that government doesn’t have a role and should never act. It’s to argue that assuming government will act when there’s insufficient demand to move the private sector at all misunderstands the basic foundation of both arenas of activity.

                And let’s not forget that it’s government itself that has often been the worst perpetrator of these problems. Segregation in public schools was a government policy; and it wasn’t only southern states that discriminated that way–the federal government ran a segregated school system in D.C. Baseball broke the color barrier a year before the federal government integrated the armed services. And it’s governments that still maintain discriminatory policies towards gays, while businesses increasingly realize that being gay-friendly is good for their bottom line.

                That’s not to say the market solves all problems and gov’t has no role. As long as some people remain biased, there will be segments of the market that cater to them. And although government will not play a role until there has been some forward movement in public opinion, government can then play a role in helping public opinion to continue moving forward, and in enacting rules that constrain those ugly market segments that remain.

                The whole picture is just a lot more complicated than either market bad/government good or government good/market bad. And to phrase a question as “rely on the market or rely on government” overlooks that complexity.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:


                The whole picture is just a lot more complicated than either market bad/government good or government good/market bad. And to phrase a question as “rely on the market or rely on government” overlooks that complexity.

                Hmm. I never said anything vaguely resembling market bad/goverment good or vice versa, nor did I say “rely on the market or rely on government.” I really don’t have any idea why you think I did. Are you unintentionally channeling MA or something, James? 🙂

                Seriously, though, I think we’re talking past each other here. I’m not talking about issues where many people would think there’s not a problem. I’m talking about things that most people *agree* are problems, but we haven’t fixed, *despite* the market and past non-trivial government action that people agreed to.

                As I said up-thread, real dynamic systems, even very simple ones, can admit for systematic steady-state error and bias unless you specifically combat it. This is true even if it that bias is unwanted and the system acts against it (i.e. P vs. PI linear control). That’s the situation we have today – despite the system (both the market and the government) acting against discrimination, we still have real undesirable bias in the outcomes.

                So the question isn’t whether or not to address it – it’s how best to address it. Perhaps that discussion is best continued down-thread where you and Chris are discussing something similar?Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                PB,

                We tend to be able to meet in the middle, but let me push back nicely on a few things.

                First, I am totally unconvinced that systematic discrimination explains disparities in wages for women. We had this thread a few weeks ago, and the data is pretty clear that gender disparities can be explained via the types of fields and the number of hours and other career choices that are made.

                Markets “want” to penalize irrational discrimination. If a manager hires a less qualified candidate due to irrational bias, then he is harming the profitability of the firm, all else equal.

                Most importantly though, I want to clarify that most of the classical liberals on this site strongly support well engineered social safety nets that correct for cycles of disadvantage. And this is exactly what we have today. The poor are supported by the non poor in tax rates, paying for education and infrastructure. The middle class and above built these. We all benefited.

                Furthermore, we pay out almost a trillion dollars a year in means tested income redistribution each year. Divide this number by the number of disadvantaged families, and you get a mind blowingly large number per family. I encourage each of you to do the sums.

                In summary, we do support basing society to help the less fortunate. Society is massively supporting them right now. So, to paraphrase Jaybird, when is enough, enough? Two trillion?

                My guess is much of what we are spending today is going to the wrong people or is structured in ways which adds fuel to the problem rather than solving it. The discussion shouldn’t really be about stepping up more for the poor, it should be about using what we are spending on them now wiser.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                You want to know the magnitude of steady-state error we’re facing? In 2011 dollars, the difference between mean African American per capita income and mean White Not Hispanic per-capita income has been holding steady at about $14,000/year for the last two decades with a mean annual per-capita income in this country of about $28,000/year in 2011.

                How to do better than we’re currently doing, be it market or government based, is exactly what I’ve been asking. I want proposed solutions not theory, as this problem is real, it’s systematic, it’s not getting fixed, and real people are suffering as a result, not just numbers of spreadsheets. I don’t care whether the solution is government-based or market-based; I just want a solution that works and I don’t care where it comes from.

                You proposed an approach, Roger, that’s great, I really appreciate it, and we should discuss it more. Same for Brian’s proposal for dealing with poverty and retirement among the elderly – I may doubt it will work, but it’s something meaningful to discuss. I find that much more useful and responsive than dancing around with oblique questions on theories of social change so that you can avoid answering specific questions about how to solve real problems.

                And people wonder why libertarians sometimes have trouble talking to liberals and vice versa?Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        So when I hear talk of ‘big government,’ of ‘coercion,’ of ‘taxes as theft,’ I’m most left feeling like I’m looking at someone unwilling or incapable of recognizing the coercion the government has ended, the theft of labor, of liberty, of rights while claiming they’re being treated as slaves were, as women were.

        It’s more to it than that.

        The Conservatarian fringe – amply represented in this blog – has within it a group that is incapable of recognizing how many of the banners they have taken up (such as the “states’ rights” banner) existed for and continue to exemplify a desire to put some of those practices back into existence.

        We see this when Jaybird and others whine on about how we are “forcing them to pay for someone else’s birth control.”

        Or similar sentiment.Report