New Terms for Old Libertarians in the New Year

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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63 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    “The Left” here is a broad term that is doing a lot of heavy lifting but it seems to mainly mean Democrats. This continues the usually libertarian pain that they hate that they definition of liberalism has largely shifted. They completely ignore that the definition of liberalism shifted over 100 years ago.

    I don’t think there will ever be a grand liberalterian alignment. Too many libertarians are just as addicted to “owning the libs” as a Trump tankie. Plus I think there is a hardcore Calvinistic streak in a lot of libertarianism. Tyler acknowledges that a lot of libertarians went alt-right (read: Nazi) but still does not want to confront how much the libertarian movement had a lot of racists in it from the get go.Report

    • Avatar veronica d in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      What on earth is a “Trump tankie”?

      I know what a tankie is. I know what a trumpaloo is. The groups don’t really intersect.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to veronica d
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        says:

        I think by Trump tankie, Saul means a tankie but who supports Trump rather than the USSR no matter what.Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to LeeEsq
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          says:

          “Tankie” specifically refers to people who support the USSR up to and including their “sending tanks” into Eastern Europe. They’re specifically a branch of Marxism-Lenninism (but Stalinism, actually).

          Now, I can see how one might be tempted to compare one gaggle of idiots to another gaggle of idiots, it’s not a great label. After all, the Trumpaloos and the Tankies have literally nothing in common except the fact they’re asshats.

          There is another label for the Trumaloos that better captures their dumbfuckery. It’s also is from the early-to-mid twentieth century.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    State capacity libertarianism sounds like enforcing a particular version of economics and government on society at gun point whether they like it or not. For their own good mind you.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      Lots of libertarians seem to be of the view that economics is the holiest of all fields and no dissent can be done against their precious economics. Notice how a lot of libertarians get really angry when you point out reasons people might not just appreciate abstract economic growth and wealth building when they need to go to gofundme for help with medical bills.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    I generally enjoy reading Cowan, as I don’t always mesh with his view but they often give me something to really chew on. But, in this piece, he seems to be missing the elephant-in-the-room sized issue. The country as a whole, and libertarianism in micro, is having a massive discussion on all of the post-WWII decisions and directions. (And this discussion is not limited to the U.S.)

    Concepts such as the role of gov’t in economic to personal life, what is liberty, etc. are all being discussed as we speak. And once the whole of the population starts to move in a single direction, libertarians will move along with it. But until we as a nation decide on many of these issues, they will continue to cause libertarians, along with other groups, to splinter along many of the same lines as the general populace.Report

  4. Avatar greginak
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    says:

    What really struck me is that Cowen doesn’t seem to understand Warren or Wilkenson. I like both of them and they are pretty clearly not against business. They feels the rules have been written to favor big business and the rich to the detriment of everybody else and want the system to be better calibrated towards spreading good around better.

    He thinks Theil is a good messenger for SCL. Holy mackerel. Theil has boosted and spent on such libertarian luminaries and james okeefe, kris koblach and stood with ann coulter. Yeah he is real libertarian of any sort only if you use the most jaundiced definition of libertarian.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I find this sentence in the opening paragraph to be the most interesting:

    Having tracked the libertarian “movement” for much of my life, I believe it is now pretty much hollowed out, at least in terms of flow.

    I agree. “Libertarianism” (with a capital L) is a system that suffered from a huge number of unquestioned assumptions about culture (and even human nature). Looking at these assumptions and abandoning them once they’re held up to how the world actually appears to work in practice will result in either people abandoning the assumptions or pretending that we just don’t have enough information about how the world actually appears to work in practice.

    As for small-l libertarianism, it tends to win a whole lot of arguments within a lot of the cultures that put a primary emphasis on the individual over and above the emphasis on the culture… but do very poorly in cultures that put the emphasis elsewhere.

    If Libertarianism has been hollowed out, it’s because libertarianism has won the argument so completely that we can change the topic.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I still hold that Libertarianism is best as a cautionary tale, rather than as a political movement. While it may not put the brakes on political action, it at least tries to get people to think about the potential downsides to whatever they want to make government do.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        The late, great, Jerry Pournelle regularly said something to the effect of “libertarianism is a vector, not a destination”.

        As a vector, I am 100% in support of it. Pick any given policy and I betcha that it would be improved by making it a bit more libertarian. (Hell, there are a non-zero number of policies that would be improved by getting rid of them entirely.)

        But, yeah, as a political movement it’s a cautionary tale in its own right.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          Restricting governments’ ability to enforce copyright and patents would be an improvement?

          Restricting the government’s ability to enforce international contracts would improve things?

          Limiting the government’s power to protect property is an improvement?

          One of the weaknesses of libertarian advocates is they refuse to acknowledge how property, and the marketplace itself are creations of government coercion.

          There is no vector, no direction to libertarianism because its very founding premise is the establishment of a coercive regime which claims unlimited power to define and protect rights.
          There is no “larger” or “smaller” government. There is only “Stuff we want it to do” and “Stuff we don’t want it to do”.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Restricting governments’ ability to enforce copyright and patents would be an improvement?

            Yes? Like, the Copyright Term Extension Act was a bad law?

            Restricting the government’s ability to enforce international contracts would improve things?

            Yes?

            Limiting the government’s power to protect property is an improvement?

            You mean like cops shooting people?

            There is no “larger” or “smaller” government. There is only “Stuff we want it to do” and “Stuff we don’t want it to do”.

            I find “stuff we want it to stop doing” to be an interesting vein worth tapping.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Libertarian theory holds that the government should not have the power of using lethal force, ever, to protect property rights?

              Somehow, I don’t think that’s what you meant.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If I were to argue against your maximalist position by pointing out that I do *NOT* support the police choking out Eric Garner for selling loosies, do you think that that would demonstrate that I understood your position?

                Because you’re not arguing against what I said.

                Here, let me say what I said again by copying and pasting it:

                “Pick any given policy and I betcha that it would be improved by making it a bit more libertarian.”

                So to answer your question above:

                “the government should not have the power of using lethal force, ever, to protect property rights?”

                I absolutely, 100%, think that the government’s tendency to use lethal force in the protection of property rights should be nudged in a more libertarian direction.

                Indeed, I wouldn’t want to defend the status quo. I’m always surprised when I see people who do.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The “libertarianish direction” is never defined though.

                Like, greater rights for unlicensed vendors to stroll through private malls and sell loosies?

                See, most political ideologies acknowledge and grapple with their conflicting goals.

                For example, the conflict between free speech versus public order is usually resolved by invoking some “time place and manner” restrictions which provide a compromise, so someone doesn’t exercise their free speech at 3 AM outside your window.

                Most libertarians tend to shy away from those sorts of messy complications and rely on slogan stuff like “Less shooting by cops” or “All engagements should be voluntary” or the old trusty “Non Aggression Principle”;

                These things can’t possibly stand without qualifiers and hedges and modifications- taken at face value they are absurd.

                But once they are modified, hedged, limited and conditioned, they end up sounding just like regular old conventional political ideas already in existence.
                For example, a libertarian might suggest a solution to Eric Garner be a civilian review board, independent of the police structure, which can review and discipline cops.

                Except…that’s just a standard liberal position from way back.
                Or they might suggest revoking the law against unlicensed vendors…but that’s just a standard conservative position.

                So if you want to see fewer shootings by cops, or less copyright enforcement, or weaker international contract enforcement you need to do the work the rest of us do, and engage with the competing agendas and needs that created the status quo and define what you mean.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                While I appreciate that Eric Garner was breaking the law, I am more of a fan of making an official policy of “turn a blind eye to de minimis crap”.

                And you say “but what does that *MEAN*?” and demand some official policy but I think that official policies are part of the problem because the official policies result in stuff like the cops targeting people like Eric Garner.

                A police force that turns a blind eye to stuff like selling loosies (or dime bags or a handful of other de minimis things) results in a population willing to talk to the cops about a stabbing (or worse). Going after the de minimis stuff means that you’ve got AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY that hates the cops.

                And that’s bad.

                I’m not really arguing that the cops need to do things as much as I’m arguing that they need to *STOP* doing things.

                And asking me what policies I’d implement is asking me “well, what do you want them to do instead?” and refusing to take “nothing” as an answer.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                But…but…but, but, buhbuhbuh there HAVE to be laws, I mean, there HAVE TO BE LAWS, how are people like Chip supposed to know how to behave if there aren’t written-down laws telling them what they can and cannot do?

                I mean, you’re just supposed to assume that people know how to act? What if they do something racist? What if they do something homophobic? What if they charge interest on a loan?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                “We are so afraid of bad things happening we are going to violate the non-aggression principle against everyone”

                At some point you have to admire the level of stupid where that begins.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                “It seems the machine is currently set to a 7. Maybe we should turn it down to a 6?”

                “If we turn it down to zero, it’s all over. Don’t touch the dial.”

                “7 is a bad number for it to be on.”

                “Zero is worse.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What you are describing sounds a lot like liberal arguments in opposition to Broken Windows policing, like the criticism of New York’s Stop And Frisk program.

                And, unsurprisingly, I don’t have much disagreement with it.

                But is that really what you’re saying?

                In other words, are you suggesting the cops turn a blind eye also to property crimes, like trespass and graffitti? Weakening the rights of property holders, in other words?

                What I keep trying to illustrate is that there is no “libertarian direction” because both Broken Windows and its opposite can be justified in libertarian theory.

                It is possible to resolve these conflicts, as all other political philosophies have done. It just requires a bit more work and thought.

                For example:
                Liberal theories generally hold that petty crimes can best be addressed by the root causes of poverty and political alienation; If turnstile jumpers were given jobs and if their community felt more respected by the police they would be more willing to comply with norms;

                Conservative theories generally hold that turnstile jumpers can best be addressed by an increase in public morality and rectitude, like stronger support for institutions like churches.

                These are both debatable theories!

                But they seek to address their internal contradictions and resolve the Liberty/ Order conflict.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And so the status quo is maintained.

                (I still think we should turn down the machine to a 6.)Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “both Broken Windows and its opposite can be justified in libertarian theory.”

                libertarian theory is entirely compatible with the idea that property owners ought to have the responsibility to defend their own property from such infringements as concern them

                liberal theory, however, considers such defense an arrogation of the state’s right to non-consensually coerce the behavior of citizens

                “are you suggesting the cops turn a blind eye also to property crimes, like trespass and graffitti?”

                it’s really interesting how in this discussion you assume he’s going to say “no” hereReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                So if Eric Garner were killed by private security cops in a private mall, libertarians would be totes cool with it?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I am trying to remember the last time someone got shot for “no shoes, no shirt, no service” and coming up short…

                Seriously dude, mall cops just escort your strawmen out.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Garner wasn’t shot.
                He resisted arrest, was pinned to the ground, and suffocated.

                Many times in my neighborhood I have witnessed private security tackling and pinning accused shoplifters and trespassers to the ground, exactly as they did to Garner.

                Does libertarian theory have any problem with this?
                Or is this an example of “protection of property rights” in action?Report

              • Avatar Aaron david in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Garner was killed for selling loose cigarettes on a citu street. If you can find any way a “mall cop” could do that under any version of property rights I will be amazed.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                And if those private security folks actually caused harm to the shoplifters and trespassers, what do you think would happen? Would they face charges, and indictment, a trial, jail time? If they unlawfully physically detain a person, will they face a potential lawsuit?

                The answer to all of that is ‘yes’, they would, hence private security has powerful incentives to use the minimum force necessary to achieve their goals, and to be quite certain they are in the right to execute a citizens arrest.

                The police, killed Garner, and shrugged it off.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “Does libertarian theory have any problem with this?”

                …yes?

                I mean, do you honestly expect a different answer here?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DensityDuck
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                says:

                “libertarian theory is entirely compatible with the idea that property owners ought to have the responsibility to defend their own property from such infringements as concern them”

                This seems to indicate the answer is No.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “This seems to indicate the answer is No.”

                You are the only person in this discussion who has suggested that killing Eric Garner was in any way appropriate.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Libertarian Theory holds that the government should be more concerned with harm to people, and less concerned with harm to itself.

                So focus less on violations where there is no victim to experience harm. Drug use and possession – no harm. Graffiti – there is an identifiable harm.

                How much of law enforcement efforts are put towards just making sure people are following the bureaucratic rules that exist mostly so government can ensure maximum revenue collection? Perhaps we could dial that back quite a bit.

                Or you can just keep playing “Extreme Hypothetical’s!!!!”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                So in answer to my question- If Eric Garner were pinned and suffocated by cops for trespass instead of selling loosies, libertarian theory would support that?

                And remember this is an actual event that happens thousands of times a year, even if only rarely resulting in death.

                See, this is an example of my point that there is no “direction”.

                Because the dial of “Government Power” is dialed up to 11 when we talk about the things you want it to do like preventing property crimes, but down to zero when discussing things you don’t want it to do.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Stop being an unrepentant ass and playing extreme hypotheticals.

                Should the police enforce property rights? Yes. Otherwise property rights are meaningless, or we have to leave it up to property holders to enforce those rights.

                Your question, however, has nothing to do with property rights, and everything to do with the states use of lethal force, which is a whole other issue that intersects all manner of rights and powers.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The direction is actually pretty well defined, and has been, but multiple people on this very site, but you just don’t like the direction, so you claim it doesn’t exist (and you grasp at the outliers to defend your position).

                I can say the same thing about liberals, that they are all over the map, because they entertain the voices of the far left.

                But, go ahead, ignore everything that has been said before and make us few libertarians on this board once again, explain to you how we’d like things to be…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                The answers I am getting are that in defense of property crimes (harm), libertarian theory accepts whatever level of government power is required to get the job done.

                Whereas in matters of personal behavior (non-harm) the government power is reduced to zero.

                So you aren’t changing the level of government power, just the scope of where it is directed.

                All of which is a perfectly defensible position.

                But notice how far we have strayed from “moving all of government in the libertarian direction” with regard to patents and international contracts and such.

                Because those can’t be neatly segregated into “Harm” versus “Non-harm” categories.

                If, as Jaybird agreed, we weaken protection for patents, isn’t that “harming” those who currently hold them? They consider those patents and copyrights to be property, which need to be protected no less than goods on a shelf.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                We just had a new year. Stuff from 1924 is now in the public domain.

                There are countries that are not 70+ year countries but 50+ year countries. That means that stuff from 1944 is in the public domain in those.

                If I were to argue that we should not be a 70+ year country but a 50+ year country, I’d be arguing that we protect copyright excessively and we should protect it less excessively.

                And you’re arguing against that as if having a 50+ copyright is the same thing as not protecting copyright.

                And expecting me to not notice.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                What we are talking about is the government deciding to respect some property claims and reject others.

                How is saying, “We reject your claim to a 70 year copyright and will now move this song into the public domain” any different than “We reject your claim to this strip of land, which we will now move into the public domain”?
                The government is literally confiscating property.

                Again, libertarian theory can be used in either direction, to support 70 year claims in the name of order, or reject them in the name of liberty because it hasn’t been developed enough to reconcile those two pillars.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Ahem.

                “And you’re arguing against that as if having a 50+ copyright is the same thing as not protecting copyright.”

                Out of curiosity, do you believe that a 70+ is insufficiently rigorous? Would a 90+ copyright serve you better, do you think?

                Would this do a better job of the government protecting property rights?

                A while back, we had an argument about the difference between the US’s FDA and the EU’s European Medicines Agency and the EU having 8 epipens on the market to the USA’s one (which jacked up its prices).

                My argument was that the FDA was too restrictive and it should be less restrictive.

                And, then too, people argued against me as if I were asking for people to die… because I wanted my FDA to merely be as rigorous as Germany’s.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                I’m more interested in how these decisions are made, and less about what is decided.

                How does libertarian theory reconcile government deciding to protect some property claims, and not others?

                Oscar’s formulation of Harm/ Non-Harm doesn’t work since it can’t be seen which applies.

                Are rights the sort of thing which can satisfactorily be put to a vote, where 2 people vote to strip a third of his property?

                Or is there some universal principle which can tell us what claims are valid and what are not? Like, what is magic about 50 years versus 70, or a hundred, or 5?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                If England has a 50+ law and the US has a 70+ law, would moving to a law like England’s become an example of, let me copy and paste this, “The government is literally confiscating property.”?

                Is England literally confiscating property by having a 50+ law instead of the obviously morally correct 70+ law that the US has (and, presumably, should not change because changing would constitute a literal confiscation of property)?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Yes, it would.

                A copyright is property, a legally protected stream of royalties. It can be bought and sold like any other income stream.

                And lopping off 20 years of that income stream is very much confiscating property.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                It’s called ‘grandfathering’.

                You don’t lop off 20 years of royalties for existing copyrights, you just make new ones less valuable.

                But turn it on it’s head, when they added the extra 20 years, what was lost? Was the loss greater than the gain?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “How does libertarian theory reconcile government deciding to protect some property claims, and not others?”

                Nothing about libertarian philosophy suggests that government is never acceptable, merely that if it comes down to private property rights versus government needs or desires then private property rights should win.

                Such as store owners being able to sell loose cigarettes instead of there being a law saying that you have to sell them as a full pack.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Libertarian theory holds that property rights, as a concept, are socially valuable and should be protected where they exist. As such, the government should have to show a strong compelling interest when it decides to interfere with those rights.

                With regard to IP, there is no confiscation because the rules are laid out before you attempt to claim the IP. Confiscation assumes that the government is interfering with the right in a manner outside of those rules, and in a way that another private individual would not be permitted to do.

                Aside from that, rights should be structured to benefit the individual first and foremost, but nothing says that the rights can’t also benefit society as well.

                Now that I think about it, here is where I think you turn away from Libertarian understanding. Libertarians see the state as an entity with it’s own interests and desires, as expressed through the individuals in positions of power within it. You (and a lot of liberals, I believe) see the state as a manifestation of our collective will, and as such, it is only ever doing what the collective wants it to do.

                That’s a nice ideal, but it doesn’t sync with reality except perhaps at some high level areas. This is why libertarians want the state reduced, not because it’s evil, but because t is insufficiently constrained, and too many of the people in positions of power are allowed to satisfy their baser desires without adequate accountability.

                I mean, we have 70+ year copyright NOT because it is what was objectively determined to be best for society, but because Disney didn’t want to give up a cartoon mouse, and the people in government found that to be in their best interests.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                And turning that into “The Sunny Bono CTEA act is *REAL* Libertarianism” is perverse.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The answers I am getting are that in defense of property crimes (harm), libertarian theory accepts whatever level of government power is required to get the job done.

                Horseshit, no one has said, or even suggested that. You’ve just decided to fill in gaps where people haven’t argued.

                Because those can’t be neatly segregated into “Harm” versus “Non-harm” categories.

                Actually, yes they can, but as Jaybird notes, that is not the discussion. The discussion is that we should perhaps not grant such exclusive rights for IP so easily (e.g. Pharma) or for so long (e.g. copyright).

                But again, you only want to entertain extreme positions…Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                “you only want to entertain extreme positions…”

                Well, no, what he wants to do is assert that his proposed extreme position is the only possible valid libertarian one, and that if we don’t say “yes indubitably this position is absolutely what we believe” then we aren’t Real Libertarians and are actually just republicans who want to not get in trouble for saying racist things.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                I’m trying to illustrate the idea of “Libertarian Coercion”, that is, instances in which the libertarian goals result in an outcome of violent coercion.

                Like, when trespassers refuse to comply, and the only alternative is violence, even deadly force.

                We have countless examples of that throughout history, even right now on the Wednesday thread the example of women occupying a vacant building.

                There isn’t anything extreme or hypothetical about this.
                If those women refuse to leave, at some point force will be used to defend property rights.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Is that the only alternative though, or merely the ones the police, who we are told to depend upon, choose to employ in our name?

                I mean, they have a monopoly on such things, so we are kinda stuck depending on them…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                This is the conundrum that needs to be addressed!

                If the authority of the state police is not accepted, how can any expression of the state be valid?

                Like, what if the trespassers reject the state’s claim that the property belongs to someone else?
                Maybe the state is simply “acting in its own interest and desires, as expressed through the individuals in positions of power within it.”
                (This is, in fact how early strikers and radical leftists saw things, that the cops and government were merely the tool of capitalist oligarchs).

                Typically conservatives and liberals rely upon the democratic process; If the majority says its not your property, then you gotta leave, and any deadly force required to force you to do that is justified.

                But typically libertarians shy away from that, on the grounds that, as you say, the resulting government is not necessarily a reflection of the citizen’s will.
                Jason Brennan is probably the most current voice on this.

                But they haven’t developed an alternative theory of legitimacy.Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                “The purpose of law, the proper purpose, is to establish the general principles of conduct, of governing human relationships in a society, specifically, to establish the principles of conduct which would respect individual rights and prevent citizens from infringing the rights of each other.”

                “An objective law, is a law which defines, objectively, what constitutes a crime, or what is forbidden, and the kind of penalty that a man would incur if he performs the forbidden action.”

                I know you guys have been freebasing Brawndo for sixty years now, but come on.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                So let me get this straight, because libertarians are not entirely opposed to the use of deadly force to protect rights, they are somehow not a real political philosophy?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                They just haven’t developed a theory of when and how the two goals of Liberty and Order should interact, unlike other political philosophies.

                To do that, all they would have to do is say something like, “Rights may not be abridged, without due process.”

                But as you just stated, “due process” is very questionable because it presumes the legitimacy of the state’s authority to act.

                Asserting as you did, that the state is a partial actor not representative of the people’s will needs some other theory of legitimacy or else the entire edifice crumbles, both the parts you like, and the parts you don’t.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Really? And what do other political philosophies say about how liberty and order should interact? Because as far as I can tell, none of them have a consistent working theory regarding the topic. They all seem to basically play it by ear. So it’s rather rich for you to claim libertarians lack something* that no other political philosophy has a solid handle on either, and that somehow de-legitimizes the ideology.

                *I’m pretty sure libertarians have such a working theory, but I’d have to go ask Jason K, or Hanley for something to cite.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                On the contrary, both conservatives and liberals have developed a complex system of theories for how and when rights and order interact.

                Things like time place and manner restrictions on speech, or theories of when eminent domain can be used or what “due process” and “reasonable search and seizure” mean. Entire libraries are full of commentaries on these things.

                But what they all have in common is the assumption that voting confers legitimacy and that the resulting government has authority to act as the will of the people.

                So the piece of paper at the county recorder’s office is the sole legitimate document of property claims;
                And the eviction notice from a judge is the legitimate order which must be obeyed;
                And the use of force to enforce this order is legitimate, subject to review by other legitimate organs of the state.

                And this eviction is no less legitimate than regulations on taxes or commerce or zoning.

                Phrases like “restrain government power” are self negating, since government power is the very thing you rely upon to accomplish your other goals.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Not sure how you can claim legitimacy when 40% of the eligible population didn’t vote in the 2016 election…god knows how few voted in non presidental elections.

                Yah..legitimacy…or is it just folks voting for free stuff?Report

              • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                The voting system died when dead people voted.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “If those women refuse to leave, at some point force will be used to defend property rights.”

                What does this have to do with the police killing Eric Garner?

                I mean this is turning into one of those conversations where the atheist says “oh, so God is ALL POWERFUL, huh, well, can he make a rock that’s SO BIG that even HE can’t lift it? huh? huh? huh? whatcha got NOW, you Jesus freak, huh? (upside-down-smiley upside-down-smiley upside-down-smiley)”Report

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    Having read the Cowen article, it strikes me how similar his enumerated criteria for State Capacity Libertarianism sounds like 90’s era Clintonesque Blue Dog Democratic Party thinking.

    Essentially, Cowen posits that government should work to enhance the workings of markets and liberalize international trade.

    Comparing him to Clinton might sound like a snark but it really shouldn’t; It should illustrate my point above where once you take the raw goals of libertarian thinking and water them down and temper them with all sorts of provisos, they end up just sounding rather like any other conventional political program.

    Which shouldn’t be a criticism of it really. Because once we can talk about it as a normal political program it can then be argued and negotiated and refined to actually produce some sort of result, rather than just hanging in the ether as some abstract undefinable platitudes.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Over the past few years, I have been developing that a lot of theory about government and politics is essentially a debate over who should be liable for what and when. Or to put it another way, what should be the result when shit happens. Who should bear the burden?

    I’ve never been a fan of the concept of caveat emptor. I think a lot of discussion/lecturing on “individual responsibility” is essentially shifting the burden downwards to those least likely to have the means to deal with a bad situation but it is very easy instead of working out complex theories on liability, burden, and obligation.Report

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