Saturday, January 31, 2009
But I've always found it kind of ironic that LLs (including the authors of "An Anarchist FAQ") are so obsessed with self-employment, considering that self-employed people are mostly right-leaning. According to wikipedia, "Republicans are about 50 percent more likely to be self-employed." (Some other interesting political statistics here.) Add in all the independent conservative and libertarian-leaning individuals who aren't Republicans, and who knows how high the number would get?
Do the left's constituencies really identify with this interest in self-employment? At all? It seems like more of a "rightie" thing.
Anyhoo...just a random observation I've made.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Another reason why libertarianism will never gain mainstream acceptance: most people are emotional rather than logical, and can be manipulated into anything at the first sign of panic. Whenever something bad happens, they FRRRREEEEEAAAK OUUUUT! They abandon all rational thought and simply cling to whatever makes them feel good.
You can't make good decisions when you're too angry or scared to think straight. That's why the last person you want to be around in an emergency situation is someone who freaks out and can't stay calm.
This is exactly what we saw after 9/11. The hysterical sheep insisted that we "do something," no matter how insanely stupid or counterproductive. "You mean you would just sit there and do nothing?" they would wail, as I (and others) attempted to explain that destroying random countries wouldn't bring back the victims of 9/11. "Don't you know that we have to live in the real world?"
Years later, we now see the result of putting these knee-jerk emotional idiots in charge of public policy. The "war on terror" has been an unbelievable clusterfuck of a disaster, one for which the US will suffer for years. Yet the warmongers still criticize those of us who didn't want to slaughter Afghans. "[Fill-in-name-here] didn't even want to go into Afghanistan!" shouts Bill O'Reilly on a regular basis. Afghanistan is another miserable failure, but that's irrelevant to O'Reilly. All that matters is that "we" "did something," even if it was pointless. The actual results don't matter, it's only the principle of "doing something" that matters.
Now the emoters demand that we "do something" about the current crisis. Do something! It doesn't matter what. Just do something! Anything!
It's going to be a loooong economic meltdown...
College hasn't lived up to the hype. In fact, I don't like it and want to leave. Badly. I find that I have way more fun, feel better, and make friends easier when I'm working a job. School blows. In fact, a number of my friends have dropped out and tell me all the time that they made a great decision.
I'm not going to drop out. That would be extremely stupid, since I only have a few months left. So I'll finish off the last few months, but I'm not going to work particularly hard (except at finding a job in the real world, which is all that really matters). Where I would normally read the chapters out of a text book, I'll just watch a movie or take a walk outside in the fresh air. Or make awkward attempts to hit on chicks. Whatever. I'm just glad that I'm about finished with the useless world of ivory-tower quacks, lecture halls, and overpriced, dull text books. It makes me laugh when I think about how little any of it matters in the real world. Funny stuff!
Friday, January 23, 2009
One of my favorite quotes from it:
are corporations really "about as close to the totalitarian ideal as any [institution] that humans have so far constructed," as Chomsky contends? Is Starbucks as close to the totalitarian ideal as, say, the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler? Is Walmart as totalitarian an institution as the Bolshevik state of Vladimir Lenin? Even to ask these questions is to see their patent absurdity.
Yep, you're 100% right, Ben. But it's exactly what these lunatics believe.
What's extraordinary is the amount of time O'Neill devotes to stressing that state intervention gives many businesses dangerous forms of power and authority. The poor dude thought he had covered all his bases in avoiding a hysterical charge of "vulgar libertarianism."
Surprise, surprise! The obnoxious 'left-libertarians' still found plenty to nit-pick (as they always do). This time, the complaint is that he dared to imply that there may be a single business in ancapistan containing a minuscule trace of "hierarchy." Sigh.
..even forms of power that don’t involve or depend on coercion can still be harmful and worth fighting..
Dude. You and your posse can believe whatever the crap you want about hierarchies. The rest of us are just getting annoyed with the way you guys sculpt your predictions to match those beliefs, and then complain when others don't accept them.
I wish more left-libertarians would just admit that they oppose hierarchies per se, regardless of whether or not they could exist or flourish under a free market economy. If hierarchy is what they want to criticize, then they should criticize it.
However, they have a knack for disguising their criticisms of hierarchy as criticisms of state intervention. I believe they do this so other libertarians will be forced take their arguments seriously. Switching the subject from hierarchy (which libertarians don't oppose) to coercion (which libertarians oppose) means libertarians have to play their little game. Y'see? It's a clever trick, and they've become better and better at it. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
It always makes me laugh when I hear the "love it or leave it!" argument from statists. Why? Because the bastards won't even let you leave!! Just ask Mike Gogulski how easy it is to leave, with all the rules, regulatory crap, and bureaucratic hoops it involves. Hell, you can't even walk near the border without being handcuffed or shot.
Note: Originally I couldn't read this page, so I downloaded a better browser (which I had been meaning to do for some time). Best decision I ever made. I'm amazed I didn't just do it earler.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Anarcho-capitalists who criticize big corporations and “existing capitalism” are treated as badly (if not worse) as those who cuddle up to them. That’s why sucking up to the left is a fool’s errand. It’s not the privileges or subsidies they hate, it’s the “voluntary” part.
Some 'left-libertarians' of the Brainpolice stripe are now beginning to figure this out the hard way. The more I read these kinds of debates, the more I want to say: I told you so!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
They got away with all of their barbaric crimes, and the brain-dead American sheople didn't bat an eyelid. Sickening. It just goes to show how anything is legal when you're rich and powerful.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I cry because all the money I'll make over the next four (eight?) years will be squandered on worthless government programs.
I cry because I'll be paying off the debt of The Messiah™ for years and years to come. Why? So that Democrats can buy off every special interest group in the country and keep their lazy asses dependent on hand-outs.
I cry because I am a serf having to pay tribute to a thuggish and tyrannical ruling class, consisting of corporate and state power-mongers.
When the Obama presidency is finished, I suspect most of us will indeed be making the same face as the person in this picture...but not for the same reason.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Meanwhile, China is getting sick of propping up the US empire. Hahahaha! I can't wait until the whole thing collapses.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Still, they can name their son whatever they want, and shouldn't have to worry about the state's thugs kidnapping their children. Do we really want a government Name Czar to regulate this stuff?
Just wait, Obama is probably working on creating one.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
I don't think I've found a single advocate for free speech among the "progressive" Brownshirts. Not one. I'm honestly surprised, and am really hoping that I overlooked some comment somewhere, because that is just plain scary. Left-liberals are not only militant enemies of free speech, but proud of it, so long as the censored speech is conservative. They're doing the same things conservatives did over the years, by calling for anti-Bush journalists to be censored, imprisoned, or sometimes outright executed.
While the left-liberals are indeed ending the First Amendment as we know it, conservatives should stop acting surprised. Conservatives have spent years and years advocating and implementing total government control over everyone and everything, while others warned that their enemies would one day be pulling the levers of the state. Conservatives refused to listen, and continued to advocate massive, brutal state power. It might be coming back to bite them on the ass.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Hornberger is a fantastic public speaker and easily wins this one.
I've always thought the argument that "they come here to get welfare!" is absurd. Don't they have even bigger welfare states in their own countries? And if being a welfare bum is your goal, why bother with the US when you can go to Canada or anywhere in Europe?
This is why I think that anyone claiming to be ‘liberal’ or ‘libertarian’ should be grounded in natural law only.
As usual with natural law proponents, he doesn’t go into a coherent justification for natural law.
To put it bluntly, I have yet to hear any kind of coherent argument for natural rights that doesn't simply fall back on utility in some way, shape, or form, or attempt to slide it in through the back door. Let’s look at some of Rothbard’s arguments for natural rights.
The natural law, then, elucidates what is best for man — what ends man should pursue that are most harmonious with, and best tend to fulfill, his nature. In a significant sense, then, natural law provides man with a "science of happiness," with the paths which will lead to his real happiness.
To further explain natural law, he quotes Sir William Blackstone:
This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law … demonstrating that this or that action tends to man's real happiness, and therefore very justly concluding that the performance of it is a part of the law of nature; or, on the other hand, that this or that action is destruction of man's real happiness, and therefore that the law of nature forbids it.
Hmm…sounds pretty utilitarian-ish to me, but maybe it’s the shrooms kicking in.
Rothbard tries to deny that he’s sneaking utility through the back door, but fails.
In contrast [to natural law] praxeology or economics as well as the utilitarian philosophy with which this science has been closely allied, treat "happiness" in the purely formal sense as the fulfillment of those ends which people happen — for whatever reason — to place high on their scales of value. Satisfaction of those ends yields to man his "utility" or "satisfaction" or "happiness." Value in the sense of valuation or utility is purely subjective, and decided by each individual. This procedure is perfectly proper for the formal science of praxeology, or economic theory, but not necessarily elsewhere. For in natural-law ethics, ends are demonstrated to be good or bad for man in varying degrees; value here is objective — determined by the natural law of man's being, and here "happiness" for man is considered in the commonsensical, contentual [is this even a word? –Cork] sense.
There you have it, folks. Yes, natural law is still based on utility, but it’s different, y’see, because the happiness it promotes is more “commonsensical” (seriously, this sounds like Boomhauer from King of the Hill). Y’see?
First off, Rothbard seems unfamiliar with the various branches of utilitarianism (what he’s describing here is preference utilitarianism, and what he’s describing in other essays is generally a bastardized form of act utilitarianism). But I digress. While this section is so vague that it barely makes sense, Rothbard seems to be saying that he’s only promoting utility in a “general” sense—in the sense that’s based around man’s natural being. But isn’t any theory of utility for man going to have to acknowledge man’s nature in one way or another?
Now, a thousand people are going to show up in the comments section to kick my ass (god bless 'em). For all I know, maybe they’ll succeed. I don’t claim to be any sort of expert philosopher, and I know there are many natural-rights proponents out there who are extremely intelligent. But still…if were to purge all those who use utility-based rationales for libertarianism, the natural-rights proponents would be purged as well, no?
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Also coming up: sometime, probably next week, I'll have the pleasure(?) of watching and reviewing what has been said to be the single most notorious film ever made: Salo. I'm almost afraid to watch the thing based on what I've read--seriously. Meh, I'll watch it anyway.
I also just bought the director's cut of Frontier(s), which I also hear is pretty brutal. Fun movie-watchin' times ahead!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Now, I've put up a few posts over the past few months on why I think the "Libertarian" Party is headed in the wrong direction. I myself was a Republican before converting to libertarianism some years ago. (Just thinking of that makes me shudder.) Why is the Republican Party in such a dismal state?
First and foremost, the Republican Party's social agenda is absolutely freaking insane to anyone who isn't living in a retirement home. This is a party that rejects evolution, global warming, birth control, stem cell research, sex ed, and medical marijuana. When I say they "reject" these things, I don't merely mean that they oppose state action or funding for them (which we should all oppose), but that they don't believe in them in general. Most normal or educated people think these stances are insane, and so long as the GOP focuses on its hard-core rightwing social agenda, it is screwed for all practical purposes. The GOP's battle against gays and secularists has grown increasingly futile and tiresome. The more it focuses on the "culture war" issues of 20 years ago, the more irrelevant it will become.
Second, the GOP has completely thrown fiscal and economic conservatives under the bus, concentrating on their lunatic social agenda. These two wings of the GOP are antagonistic in many ways. Many of the social conservatives are at the bottom of the economic ladder, meaning they don't mind the big-government spending so much (they mistakenly believe that it helps them). These people live to interfere in other people's lives and legislate the Bible, and want a powerful central government to do so. They don't care about much else.
So if the GOP downplays its perverse, medieval social agenda and focuses on economic issues, it risks alienating a massive chunk of its piss-ignorant base. They would take the risk of sending a large number of social conservatives to the Democratic Party (an apt choice for deadbeats and "mommy state" proponents).
But Cork!, you ask, what about the police state and the American war machine? Well, those two things are certainly far more important than social issues and big spending. Unfortunately, I don't think most of the American public cares about them, so it's questionable how big of a role they play in the GOP's horrid state. Your average American simply doesn't care how many Ay-rab women and children are incinerated, raped, tortured, or decapitated (if they did, Obama wouldn't have been elected). It's a big yawner for them. To the extent that the American public cares about these issues at all, it is only for three reasons:
1) The amount of money it's costing (the gulags would be tolerable if they were cheap)
2) The number of "our troops" who have been killed. They could care less about the 1,000,000+ civilian deaths, but shed crocodile tears every time some US thug loses a fingernail (usually when exterminating a family).
3) It was "poorly prosecuted." The imperialism and mass murder would be handy-dandy if only they were "planned" better, or if WMDs had been found.
So where does all of this leave the GOP overall? In the gutter, where it belongs.
It may be a great way to enjoy my week off, but what do I do when it ends? Getting back in "normal mode" is going to really, really suck.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
At this point, all we can really do is sit back and watch the (black) comedy, as the economy goes into tail-spin. It won't happen immediately, but sooner or later the wealth destruction will hit the US like a brick to the nutsack. I'm almost starting to think that America deserves it.
Friday, January 2, 2009
She comments: "Absolutely a smart thing to do. I've been saying for years that the reason Democrats have so much trouble pushing their agenda is they think too literally: They lay out the problem and state the proposed solution without selling it to the public."
"The public" does not need to listen to more drivel from the idiot Obama. "The public" needs to read Chapter IV of Economics In One Lesson (pdf).
"The public" also needs to stop voting.
"This is where the Republicans have always excelled, because they come from a sales and marketing culture and average citizens are conditioned to be consumers."
I come from a sales/marketing background myself, and think this pretty wrong. Republicans are awful at this. For instance, the reason Bush failed miserably at selling the public his social security pseudo-privatization plan was precisely because he had no idea how to sell the corporatist scam to the public. Sure, they were able to trick the public into invading Iraq, but that says more about the gullibility of the public than the Republican party's communication skills.
"So if this is how the Obama administration is going to operate, it's very good news"
Good news for the plutocrats, I suppose. Very, very bad news for the rest of us (as usual).
This will become quite interesting, though. As Gerard Jackson put it, "It will indeed be a testing time for the American economy. Under Obama we might discover just how much punishment she can take." It's like giving the baby one extra shake every time it survives. Only Obama's not just shaking the baby, he's shaking it underwater.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I’ve done quite a few brain exercises with this. For instance, suppose the Marxist exploitation theory, or any other leftist exploitation theory, is in fact true. They aren’t, of course, but let’s pretend that they are. The pure deontological libertarian would then have to support capitalism anyway, even if he conceded it would mean massive exploitation, suffering and evil. This strikes me as crazy. Despite their anti-utilitarian rhetoric, I don’t think even most of the self-proclaimed natural-rights libertarians would remain so if they discovered one of these exploitation theories was true. Ludwig von Mises argued that natural-rights advocates don't really ever fully escape utilitarianism, and I think he’s right.
Consider an argument with a communist.
Communist: “Everyone has a right to have their needs fulfilled, no matter what.”
Sane person: “Even if it leads to hell on Earth and kills millions?”
Communist: “Yes. Everyone has a right to have their basic needs fulfilled.”
Obviously, I'm not claiming natural-rights libertarians are communists, but I think you get my point. So we’re supposed to only think about things in terms of “rights,” and never, ever consider the consequences or practicality of anything? While this will certainly help keep one principled (a huge plus of the natural-rights approach), it seems loaded with pitfalls.
A pure version of the NAP is also very problematic. To take one horrifying example, it would mean allowing private ownership of nukes (a position that even Rothbard rejected, though his rejection is a blatant violation of the NAP). As David Friedman has pointed out, a purist NAP would also mean breathing is immoral, since carbon dioxide is a pollutant and pollution is aggression. The infinite complexities of life can’t be reduced to a simplistic slogan like the NAP. The subjects of morality and rights in general are surprisingly complicated and exceedingly difficult to define and justify, once one really “gets into” them.
Note: While I could have easily made this post quite a lot longer, and given a lot more examples and explanations, I don’t think it’s necessary. I don't think anyone wants to read a long, rambling post anyway.