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Posts Tagged ‘libertarianism’

What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2020

The comments in the linked article are as enlightening or in the case of the post itself-entertaining- as the post.

https://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2020/01/what-libertarianism-has-become-and-will-become-state-capacity-libertarianism.html

by  Tyler Cowen

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.  One branch split off into Ron Paul-ism and less savory alt right directions, and another, more establishment branch remains out there in force but not really commanding new adherents.  For one thing, it doesn’t seem that old-style libertarianism can solve or even very well address a number of major problems, most significantly climate change.  For another, smart people are on the internet, and the internet seems to encourage synthetic and eclectic views, at least among the smart and curious.  Unlike the mass culture of the 1970s, it does not tend to breed “capital L Libertarianism.”  On top of all that, the out-migration from narrowly libertarian views has been severe, most of all from educated women.

There is also the word “classical liberal,” but what is “classical” supposed to mean that is not question-begging?  The classical liberalism of its time focused on 19th century problems — appropriate for the 19th century of course — but from WWII onwards it has been a very different ballgame.

Along the way, I believe the smart classical liberals and libertarians have, as if guided by an invisible hand, evolved into a view that I dub with the entirely non-sticky name of State Capacity Libertarianism.  I define State Capacity Libertarianism in terms of a number of propositions:

1. Markets and capitalism are very powerful, give them their due.

2. Earlier in history, a strong state was necessary to back the formation of capitalism and also to protect individual rights (do read Koyama and Johnson on state capacity).  Strong states remain necessary to maintain and extend capitalism and markets.  This includes keeping China at bay abroad and keeping elections free from foreign interference, as well as developing effective laws and regulations for intangible capital, intellectual property, and the new world of the internet.  (If you’ve read my other works, you will know this is not a call for massive regulation of Big Tech.)

3. A strong state is distinct from a very large or tyrannical state.  A good strong state should see the maintenance and extension of capitalism as one of its primary duties, in many cases its #1 duty.

4. Rapid increases in state capacity can be very dangerous (earlier Japan, Germany), but high levels of state capacity are not inherently tyrannical.  Denmark should in fact have a smaller government, but it is still one of the freer and more secure places in the world, at least for Danish citizens albeit not for everybody.

5. Many of the failures of today’s America are failures of excess regulation, but many others are failures of state capacity.  Our governments cannot address climate change, much improve K-12 education, fix traffic congestion, or improve the quality of their discretionary spending.  Much of our physical infrastructure is stagnant or declining in quality.  I favor much more immigration, nonetheless I think our government needs clear standards for who cannot get in, who will be forced to leave, and a workable court system to back all that up and today we do not have that either.

Those problems require state capacity — albeit to boost markets — in a way that classical libertarianism is poorly suited to deal with.  Furthermore, libertarianism is parasitic upon State Capacity Libertarianism to some degree.  For instance, even if you favor education privatization, in the shorter run we still need to make the current system much better.  That would even make privatization easier, if that is your goal.

6. I will cite again the philosophical framework of my book Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals.

7. The fundamental growth experience of recent decades has been the rise of capitalism, markets, and high living standards in East Asia, and State Capacity Libertarianism has no problem or embarrassment in endorsing those developments.  It remains the case that such progress (or better) could have been made with more markets and less government.  Still, state capacity had to grow in those countries and indeed it did.  Public health improvements are another major success story of our time, and those have relied heavily on state capacity — let’s just admit it.

8. The major problem areas of our time have been Africa and South Asia.  They are both lacking in markets and also in state capacity.

9. State Capacity Libertarians are more likely to have positive views of infrastructure, science subsidies, nuclear power (requires state support!), and space programs than are mainstream libertarians or modern Democrats.  Modern Democrats often claim to favor those items, and sincerely in my view, but de facto they are very willing to sacrifice them for redistribution, egalitarian and fairness concerns, mood affiliation, and serving traditional Democratic interest groups.  For instance, modern Democrats have run New York for some time now, and they’ve done a terrible job building and fixing things.  Nor are Democrats doing much to boost nuclear power as a partial solution to climate change, if anything the contrary.

10. State Capacity Libertarianism has no problem endorsing higher quality government and governance, whereas traditional libertarianism is more likely to embrace or at least be wishy-washy toward small, corrupt regimes, due to some of the residual liberties they leave behind.

11. State Capacity Libertarianism is not non-interventionist in foreign policy, as it believes in strong alliances with other relatively free nations, when feasible.  That said, the usual libertarian “problems of intervention because government makes a lot of mistakes” bar still should be applied to specific military actions.  But the alliances can be hugely beneficial, as illustrated by much of 20th century foreign policy and today much of Asia — which still relies on Pax Americana.

It is interesting to contrast State Capacity Libertarianism to liberaltarianism, another offshoot of libertarianism.  On most substantive issues, the liberaltarians might be very close to State Capacity Libertarians.  But emphasis and focus really matter, and I would offer this (partial) list of differences:

a. The liberaltarian starts by assuring “the left” that they favor lots of government transfer programs.  The State Capacity Libertarian recognizes that demands of mercy are never ending, that economic growth can benefit people more than transfers, and, within the governmental sphere, it is willing to emphasize an analytical, “cold-hearted” comparison between government discretionary spending and transfer spending.  Discretionary spending might well win out at many margins.

b. The “polarizing Left” is explicitly opposed to a lot of capitalism, and de facto standing in opposition to state capacity, due to the polarization, which tends to thwart problem-solving.  The polarizing Left is thus a bigger villain for State Capacity Libertarianism than it is for liberaltarianism.  For the liberaltarians, temporary alliances with the polarizing Left are possible because both oppose Trump and other bad elements of the right wing.  It is easy — maybe too easy — to market liberaltarianism to the Left as a critique and revision of libertarians and conservatives.

c. Liberaltarian Will Wilkinson made the mistake of expressing enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren.  It is hard to imagine a State Capacity Libertarian making this same mistake, since so much of Warren’s energy is directed toward tearing down American business.  Ban fracking? Really?  Send money to Russia, Saudi Arabia, lose American jobs, and make climate change worse, all at the same time?  Nope.

d. State Capacity Libertarianism is more likely to make a mistake of say endorsing high-speed rail from LA to Sf (if indeed that is a mistake), and decrying the ability of U.S. governments to get such a thing done.  “Which mistakes they are most likely to commit” is an underrated way of assessing political philosophies.

You will note the influence of Peter Thiel on State Capacity Libertarianism, though I have never heard him frame the issues in this way.

Furthermore, “which ideas survive well in internet debate” has been an important filter on the evolution of the doctrine.  That point is under-discussed, for all sorts of issues, and it may get a blog post of its own.

Here is my earlier essay on the paradox of libertarianism, relevant for background.

Happy New Year everyone!

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Is Libertarianism a Mental Illness? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

Does it not border on mental illness to support something that is the cornerstone of a police state?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/02/laurence-m-vance/is-libertarianism-a-mental-illness/

By

Although I had not written anything about the government’s war on drugs since December (see here), earlier this month I received a brief note in my inbox with the subject line of: “Like libertinism (aka liberalism), libertarianism is bordering on mental illness.” The body of the e-mail simply said: “—regarding freedom to use drugs (( been writing about that insanity for three decades )).” The note closed with “JungianINTP,” which refers to the Carl Jung personality type of “Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving” (INTP).

So, basically, what my respondent was saying is that the freedom to use drugs is insane and libertarianism is bordering on mental illness for espousing such freedom. No essays, articles, or books written over the last three decades about the insanity of drug freedom were mentioned.

But is it libertarians who are insane for believing in drug freedom or is it drug warriors who have a mental illness?

The libertarian position on the drug war is straightforward. Here is the condensed version:

There should be no laws at any level of government for any reason regarding the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, or possessing of any drug for any reason.

The drug war should be ended immediately because it is not the proper role of government to prohibit, regulate, restrict, or otherwise control what a man desires to eat, drink, smoke, inject, absorb, snort, sniff, inhale, swallow, or otherwise ingest into his mouth, nose, veins, or lungs.

This, of course, does not mean that libertarians think that drug use is moral, safe, beneficial, or healthy, or that they recommend that anyone take drugs. And it also doesn’t mean that libertarians are naïve about the negative effects of drug abuse. Using drugs may cost you your money, your health, your mind, your job, your status, your reputation, your family, and/or your friends. Using drugs may even kill you. But with drug freedom comes responsibility. Drug users are ultimately responsible for their own actions.

So no, drug freedom is not insanity, and libertarians who believe in drug freedom are not bordering on mental illness.

Now consider the following—

Does it not border on mental illness to want the government to outlaw drugs but not alcohol?

Does it not border on mental illness to believe that drugs should be prohibited because they are immoral, but that other immoral activities like committing adultery and fornication should not be the concern of government?

Does it not border on mental illness to support a drug war with costs that greatly exceed any of its supposed benefits?

Does it not border on mental illness to support the monstrous evil that is the drug war that has ruined more lives than drugs themselves?

Does it not border on mental illness to believe that drugs should be prohibited because they are self-destructive, but that self-destructive activities like having casual sex and habitually overeating are none of the government’s business?

Does it not border on mental illness to support a drug war that is a complete and utter failure?

Does it not border on mental illness to support the federal drug war when there is no constitutional authority for it?

Does it not border on mental illness to believe that drugs should be prohibited because they are dangerous, but that dangerous activities like skydiving, MMA fighting, bungee jumping, and working as a roofer or logger should be permitted?

Does it not border on mental illness to say that marijuana should be illegal but that tobacco—which kills tens of thousands every year directly and indirectly—should be legal?

Does it not border on mental illness to not want the government to interfere with Americans’ consumption habits except when it comes to the consumption of drugs?

Does it not border on mental illness to want the government to ban marijuana—even though the government acknowledges that marijuana use has never killed anyone—but not to ban aspirin and other NSAID drugs, which have killed thousands?

Does it not border on mental illness to believe that drugs should be prohibited because they are addictive, but that addictive activities like playing video games and viewing pornography should not be the concern of government?

Does it not border on mental illness to support something that is impossible to reconcile it with a limited government?

Does it not border on mental illness to support something that is the cornerstone of a police state?

Does it not border on mental illness to believe that drugs should be prohibited because they are unhealthy, but that eating junk food and drinking beverages laden with high-fructose corn syrup is none of the government’s business?

Does it not border on mental illness to support the government waging war on a plant?

I think it is drug warriors who are out of their mind.

I think that drug prohibition is insanity, and drug warriors who believe in drug prohibition are bordering on mental illness.

Be seeing you

 

 

 

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How the World Views Libertarianism | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 12, 2019

https://mises.org/wire/how-world-views-libertarianism

Ask ten libertarians for a definition of libertarianism, and one is likely to receive about ten different answers.

Indeed, libertarians have something of a reputation for internecine battles over who the “real” libertarians are.

Most of the world, however, couldn’t possibly care less about these battles over how to correctly slice and dice the different types of libertarians.

When it comes to use of the term libertarian out “in the wild” among mainstream, non-libertarian pundits, the use of the term is surprisingly consistent. It nearly always refers to an ideology that pushes for greater economic freedom in the form of less regulation of economic life, lower taxes, and freedom in trade.

Most writers on political and public policy matters, however, are not friendly to this sort of ideology so the term “libertarian” is also often expressed with an air of disapproval.

A Sampling of Media Coverage

This definition of libertarianism was made more clear than usual in the wake of the death of industrialist David Koch. Koch was known to support a number of libertarian political initiatives around taxation and government regulation.

To say that Koch was savaged for these views in the press and in social media would be an understatement. But the criticism also helped to bring out how mainstream media organs view libertarianism, and how they define it.

After Koch’s death, Salon declared we “live in the brothers’ libertarian utopia” thanks in part to the political machinations of Koch and his brother Charles.

What does this utopia look like? According to Christopher Leonard, a reporter known to have written a “secret history” of the Koch brothers, the assumed victory of libertarians has led to a world in which environmental regulations have been eviscerated, social programs are impoverished, and wealthy corporations wield vast power over workers. Indeed, according to Leonard, this Kochian libertarian program seeks a return to the days before the New Deal, allegedly a “capitalistic free-fire zone” characterized by starving workers lorded over by corrupt plutocrats.

But thanks to libertarians like Koch, the progress forged by the New Deal has largely been brought crashing down.

Similarly, the Washington Post refers to Koch’s “libertarian” empire responsible for pushing the Republican party further in the direction of low taxes, fewer government programs, and what the author refers to as anti-government extremism.

Needless to say, we don’t actually live in a “libertarian utopia” and its unclear if Koch did the things attributed to him. But for our purposes in this article what matters is that the mainstream view of libertarianism is clear: libertarianism is an extreme pro-capitalist ideology.

This view extends well beyond a handful of articles about the Kochs.

For example, Darren Dochuk at Politico writes this month on the now-forgotten Pew brothers who were influential political operators behind the scenes in the mid-twentieth century. The brothers, Dochuk notes, “spent their oil fortune remaking the GOP in their libertarian and conservative Christian image.”

Both the Christianity and the libertarianism are apparently meant by the author to be seen as nefarious aspects of the brothers’ agenda. The nature of the libertarian side of their agenda is consistent with what we see said about libertarians elsewhere: the Pews’ libertarianism impelled them to oppose the beloved New Deal, especially its “encroachment on their corporate sector.” Capitalist dystopia allegedly ensued.

From Guns to Free Trade

The title “libertarian” can also be used to encompass those who take an excessive view of the freedom to own firearms. For example, Georgetown historian Robert Curran writes “Our scandalous gun policy is the inevitable consequence of libertarian ideology.” Libertarian laissez-faire, we’re told, doesn’t just encourage oppression of hapless workers. It encourages murderers as well.

Other writers have claimed to be appalled by the callousness of libertarian ideology. For instance, consider David Masciotra’s confession about once being libertarian, but eventually coming to his senses. Masciotra describes libertarians as “individuals myopically pursuing their own interests have no solution to ecological catastrophe, thousands dying for lack of health insurance, lethal disparities in the public education system, and the unending terror and devastation of racism.”

The context makes it clear that these are problems government regulation and control could solve, but libertarians dogmatically insist on their idiosyncratic views of how government regulation and funding in areas such as health care and education are a bad thing.

Other references make it clear that the term “libertarian” can be generally used to describe any organization that, on the whole, favors even a marginally pro-market political economy. This often involves applying the term to a variety of organizations that are also often just regarded as mainstream “conservative” organizations. As Max Moran writes at the American Prospect:

Democrats, if you’re reading, here’s a shot of reality: Google doesn’t just donate to think tanks on the center-left of the political spectrum. It also funds libertarian and right-wing institutions like the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.

To many libertarians, organization like the Heritage Foundation may hardly qualify as libertarian. But from the outside looking in, Heritage is libertarian because it takes a low-tax anti-regulatory view on some issues. What may seem milquetoast to a libertarian appears as extreme pro-market superstition to the average writer at The Washington Post.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Libertarianism In One Country – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 29, 2019

“I ask you to put aside for a moment the dramatic news reports from
the Caucasus and imagine something more placid: ordinary New Yorkers or Washingtonians,
asleep in their homes. Then, in a flash, hundreds perish in explosions at the
Watergate, or at an apartment complex on Manhattan’s West Side. Thousands are
injured, some horribly disfigured. Panic engulfs a neighborhood, then a nation.”

A few years later, we didn’t have to imagine it, because we were living
it.

…opposition to US intervention is on the rise, as is support for libertarian politics in this country: Let’s not blow it by adopting the discredited ideas of our neoconservative enemies and jumping into bed with the National Endowment for Democracy.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2019/07/28/libertarianism-in-one-country-2/

Originally published March 28, 2014

This week [at the time this was written] marks the fifteenth anniversary of the bombing of Serbia by President Bill Clinton – and the beginning of Antiwar.com as a full-time full-coverage news site. It’s a double anniversary fraught, for me, with irony. Back then the Big Bad Bogeyman wasn’t al-Qaeda, which had barely crept into the American consciousness, although Osama bin Laden was a known quantity. No, the Enemy of the Moment was Russia, which was desperately (and unsuccessfully) trying to block Washington’s eastward expansion – and it looks like that moment has returned with a vengeance.

With Russophobia all the rage – they’re even warning us Putin, not content with Crimea, is about to invade the North Pole! – we’ve come full circle, back to where we started. But we aren’t exactly in the same place.

In 1998 the anti-interventionist movement was tiny, and our readership reflected that. With the cold war over, and many conservatives deciding it was time to “Come Home, America,” as Pat Buchanan put it, our audience and base of support came increasingly from the right side of the political spectrum. Liberals were deserting the antiwar movement in droves, cowed – or won over – by the “humanitarian” interventionists and the 24/7 cycle of war propaganda beamed at them by CNN, back then the one and only cable news station. We called it the “Clinton News Network” because there was Christiane Amanpour, married to State Department spokesman James Rubin, lying nonstop for hours on end.

And while the idiotic Slobodan Milosevic was the official Enemy, standing behind him were the Russians, who were furiously resisting the eastward advance of the NATO-crats. Putin soon dumped Milosevic, however, and reconciled himself to the subjugation of Serbia – but the West was hardly finished. Russia was still standing, and, worse, Boris Yeltsin, the West’s favorite drunkard, was gone. In his place stood Vladimir Putin, former KGB official and hater-of-oligarchs, who went after Yeltsin’s crowd of parasites and drove them out of the country. If the former Warsaw Pact countries were going to be plundered by Commies-turned-“capitalists” and then looted by the IMF, Putin was determined that Russia would avoid their fate.

The West, led by the United States, had other plans, but Putin managed to sidestep them and get on with his task of rebuilding a country wrecked by Bolshevism, decimated by alcoholism, and threatened with outright hooliganism. In the process, he created a system that was neither free nor particularly efficient – but it was far better than what had gone before. Read the rest of this entry »

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Libertarianism’s Place In Society – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 20, 2019

When Buck Johnson recently asked Paul Gottfried whether the Left or the State was the chief enemy in our time, Gottfried quickly responded: “what’s the difference?”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/libertarianisms-place-in-society/

By CJay Engel
Austro Libertarian

The thesis here is that libertarianism as a political theory only carries the veneer of importance and centrality due to the strength and power of the democratic, administrative, state in our time. Everywhere we look, we see the influence and effect of the state as an apparatus that guides and oversees the machinations of modern civilization. We speak not merely of the obvious libertarian issues like taxes and regulation but we see in the modern western state a cultural force. We so often push the idea that politics is downstream from culture, that we have lost the culture and therefore the state has followed the path of destruction.

But as was hinted on the AL editor’s blog, it is far more likely that Paul Gottfried has it right: the state has morphed into something much more sinister and it now leads the culture toward its own ends. The modern administrative state is the creator of culture and culture is now downstream from the state. Gottfried is especially succinct as to his meaning in his short excerpt:

Contrary to an older understanding of culture, what we are referring to is a process of moral and social radicalization. It is a process that didn’t come about unbidden but which powerful, pervasive administrative rule promoted. And the social engineering function of public administration here and elsewhere in the West has been particularly evident since the 1960s, with governmentally encouraged immigration and an accelerating war against discrimination. Presumably, when Hillary Clinton assured a gay rights group that she was addressing last year (October 5, 2015) that she would use the IRS to force recalcitrant religious institutions into endorsing gay marriage, she was not simply responding to a cultural condition. She was working to create one.

We have entered into a full politicization of society; there is nothing that the state-cultural complex does not touch. It guides the way we interact with others, the way we process and interpret events, and the way we think about social norms and basic social units and institutions.

Now then, to bring this back to the thesis: “libertarianism as a political theory only carries the veneer of importance and centrality due to the strength and power of the democratic, administrative, state in our time.” Since the state is everywhere we look, and libertarianism has a set of particular ethical critiques against the state, it seems to follow that libertarianism plays such an important place in our lives…

This creates the illusion that libertarianism plays a fundamental role in society. That political theory itself is of primary importance for a people who wish for a better world, a world that is both more ethical and more free. And from this, we work to create a libertarian political strategy and a libertarian movement as well. And thus, the disease of modern administrative statism, which takes over our minds as the lens through which we find meaning, produces the impulse that one ought to dedicate himself to libertarianism as a path toward social preservation.

But it should be made clear that the only reason libertarianism as such seems to play such a fundamental role in the self-identity and life-meaning of so many in libertarian circles is due to the politicalization of society. We live in the administrative state’s world and thus we even put our path toward social improvement strictly in terms of the political. It is not just that the state formally speaking is everywhere we look, it is that there is hardly any longer a culture that is distinct from the state. When Buck Johnson recently asked Paul Gottfried whether the Left or the State was the chief enemy in our time, Gottfried quickly responded: “what’s the difference?”…

Men form society not on the basis of a unifying legal theory, but the legal theory is adopted post-society. Libertarianism is a helpful tool in the development of peaceful civilization; it is neither the spring nor the engine from which society flows. Libertarianism as a unifying spirit is only conceivable because we operate in a world that has experienced the imposition of a political society. But perhaps, to presuppose this statist-world moving forward, and to subsequently work toward a bigger libertarian political movement, is to have already made the very mistake that continues to undermine our efforts toward a free society.

Reprinted from Austro Libertarian.

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4ec7b-iu

 

 

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Conservatives Against Liberty

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2019

The American people are not suffering from an excess of free markets. They suffer from an excess of taxes, regulations, and, especially, fiat money. Therefore, populist conservatives should join libertarians in seeking to eliminate federal regulations, repeal the 16th Amendment, and restore a free-market monetary system.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/july/15/conservatives-against-liberty/

Written by Ron Paul

Recently several prominent social and populist conservatives have attacked libertarianism. These conservatives, some of whom are allies in the fight against our hyper-interventionist foreign policy, blame libertarianism for a variety of social and economic ills. The conservative attack on libertarianism — like the attack on the freedom philosophy launched by leftists — is rooted in factual, economic, and philosophical errors.

Libertarianism’s right-wing critics claim libertarianism is the dominant ideology of the Republican establishment. This is an odd claim since the Republican leadership embraces anti-libertarian policies like endless wars, restrictions on civil liberties, government interference in our personal lives, and massive spending increases on welfare as well as warfare.

Anti-libertarian conservatives confuse libertarianism with the authoritarian “neoliberalism” embraced by both major parties. This confusion may be why these conservatives blame libertarians for the American middle class’s eroding standard of living. Conservatives are correct to be concerned about the economic challenges facing the average American, but they are mistaken to place the blame on the free market.

The American people are not suffering from an excess of free markets. They suffer from an excess of taxes, regulations, and, especially, fiat money. Therefore, populist conservatives should join libertarians in seeking to eliminate federal regulations, repeal the 16th Amendment, and restore a free-market monetary system.

Instead of fighting to end the welfare-regulatory system that benefits economic and political elites at the expense of average Americans, populist conservatives are promoting increased economic interventionism. For example, many populist conservatives support increased infrastructure spending and tariffs and other forms of protectionism.

Like all forms of central planning, these schemes prevent goods and services from being used for the purposes most valued by consumers. This distorts the marketplace and lowers living standards — including of people whose jobs are temporally saved or created by these government interventions. Those workers would be better off in the long term finding new jobs in a free market.

Anti-free-market conservatives ignore how their policies harm those they claim to care about. For example, protectionism harms farmers and others working in businesses depending on international trade.

The most common complaint of social conservatives is that libertarianism promotes immorality. These conservatives confuse a libertarian’s opposition to outlawing drugs, for example, with moral approval of drug use. Many libertarians condemn drug use and other destructive behaviors. However, libertarians reject the use of government force to prevent individuals from choosing to engage in these behaviors. Instead, libertarians support the right of individuals to use peaceful means to persuade others not to engage in destructive or immoral behaviors.

Libertarians also support the right of individuals not to associate with, or to subsidize in any way, those whose lifestyles or beliefs they find objectionable. Social conservatives object to libertarians because social conservatives wish to use government power to force people to be good. This is the worst type of statism because it seeks to control our minds and souls.

Most people accept the idea that it is wrong to initiate force against those engaging in peaceful behaviors. Libertarians apply this nonaggression principle to government. Making government follow the nonaggression principle would end unjust wars, income and inflation taxes, and the destruction caused by the use of force to control what we do with our property, how we raise our children, who we associate with, and what we put into our bodies. Making governments abide by the nonaggression principle is the only way to restore a society that is free, prosperous, and moral.

 

 

 

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Tucker Carlson’s Broadside Against Austrian Economics | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2019

Tucker Carlson knows better, He knows full well how tariffs make society overall worse off, how markets make poor Americans far better off than the poor in many countries, why government medicine doesn’t work, and how minimum wage laws hurt the least-skilled workers. His argument is about priorities and strategy (and TV ratings), not ideology.

https://mises.org/power-market/tucker-carlsons-broadside-against-austrian-economics

Jeff Deist

Fox News host Tucker Carlson took to the airwaves of this popular show last night to lambaste Austrian economics and libertarianism, which he views as twin pillars of a failed ideology that doesn’t protect American workers and their interests.

The GOP, he argues, is in thrall to free-market corporate interests and esoteric economic theories from dusty textbooks. Republicans remain wedded to unbridled libertarian political philosophy, tax cuts, deregulation, and unilateral free trade, all of which enrich elites but hurt average people. Meanwhile, presidential aspirants like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders offer the American electorate real-world solutions to economic insecurity, jobs, and healthcare.

It’s a compelling story, but untrue. Does Carlson honestly think Republican members of Congress are overly theoretical and ideological? And here we thought they were a bunch of unprincipled and poorly-read hacks!1

Does he honestly think the budget-busting GOP of recent political memory, from Bush II (Iraq War, Medicare Part D, Department of Homeland Security, Patriot Act), John McCain, Mitt Romney are ideological libertarians? Why did Ron Paul and Rand Paul fare poorly among Republican primary voters, if in fact free-market ideology and its donor class dominate the party? And hasn’t the party been overtaken by Trumpist protectionists?

Of course we’re pleased when Right populists recognize the influence of the Austrian school, just as we’re pleased when Left-liberals at the New Republic convince themselves that Misesean “neoliberalism” has taken over the world. We note that Mises and Rothbard continue to receive criticism decades after their respective deaths, a testament to their deep (and apparently nefarious!) influence and an honor given to few economists.

Carlson, a onetime Cato Institute staffer and Weekly Standard writer, understands both Republican politics and the DC world of think tanks and punditry. When he references the Austrian school or libertarianism, it’s shorthand for “Koch money and influence” rather than any real ideology. It’s his shorthand for the “self-interests of rich guys,” interests given an intellectual veneer by academics and writers who are happy to accept billionaire crumbs in exchange for cozy non-profit sinecures. “Conservatism, Inc.” (or “Libertarianism, Inc.”) has become an self-serving industry unto itself, sclerotic and ripe for criticism.

There is truth to this. But it’s not an ideological truth. Tucker Carlson knows better, He knows full well how tariffs make society overall worse off, how markets make poor Americans far better off than the poor in many countries, why government medicine doesn’t work, and how minimum wage laws hurt the least-skilled workers. His argument is about priorities and strategy (and TV ratings), not ideology. And it accepts a fundamental tenet of the Left: self-interest for me is noble and warranted, self-interest for others (especially the rich) is suspicious if not sinister.

In other words, Carlson presents a fundamentally zero-sum perspective, which is to say a fundamentally political perspective.

That said, his populism—particularly his antiwar stance—should not be dismissed…

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Video | Media Matters for America

 

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Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on April 25, 2019

Good article if one is of a philsophical bent.

Me…I have to open my Wikipedia before I start.

https://mises.org/power-market/ayn-rands-political-philosophy

David Gordon

Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy. Gregory Salmieri and Robert Mayhew, Eds.  University of Pittsburgh Press. Xi + 460 pages.1

This excellent book mirrors in its choice of contributors the odd relationship between Ayn Rand and libertarianism. On the one hand, her own proposals for the political organization of society are a version of minimal state libertarianism, and her novels and essays have had an enormous impact on many libertarians. On the other hand, she not only denied she was a libertarian but denounced libertarianism in characteristically fierce fashion. The anarchist position of Murray Rothbard especially aroused her opposition.

Many of the contributors to the book are members of the “official” Objectivist organization of philosophers, the Ayn Rand Society, but others, including Matt Zwolinski, Peter Boettke, and Michael Huemer, are not Objectivists. The “official” Objectivists are more inclined than was Rand herself to acknowledge the similarity between her political thought and libertarianism, but, like her, they criticize libertarianism and denounce Rothbard’s anarchism.

In what follows, I shall address the criticisms of Rothbard’s anarchism, as these are likely to be of most interest to readers of mises.org. Before turning to this, though, I should like to examine the more general criticism of libertarianism raised by the Objectivists, as this has considerable philosophical value.

Given the manifest similarity between Rand’s political proposals and minimal state libertarianism, why are Objectivists so critical of libertarianism? One is tempted to ask them, “All right, you don’t like anarchism, but why isn’t support for a minimal state that has no power to tax and for laissez-faire capitalism enough for you? What more do you want?” Their answer is that non-Objectivist libertarianism lacks proper philosophical foundations. In the absence of these foundations, libertarians are unable adequately to support their political conclusions.

As an example, Darryl Wright, a philosophy professor at Harvey Mudd College and a rising star among Objectivist philosophers, criticizes Rothbard for not grounding his non-aggression principle in normative ethics. Although Rothbard accepted an ethics of natural law, he also held that political philosophy was autonomous, and this was his fatal error: “The source of the difficulties with Rothbard’s conception of aggression. . .lies in a particular way of understanding self-ownership, which in turn proceeds from Rothbard’s commitment to what I will call the autonomy of political philosophy. By this I mean the view that political philosophy should be independent of normative ethics—that is, independent of any substantive ethical theory applicable to the whole of one’s life.” (p.107). More generally, Wright says, “Since Rand’s approach to philosophy is holistic, a proper understanding of the[non-initiation of force] principle requires us to see how it grows out of her more fundamental positions in ethics and epistemology. . .” (p.16)…

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My Business Travail: My Harrowing Experience in "The Hindu ...

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Watch “19 Things Men Should Never Wear – Men’s Fashion & Menswear Style Mistakes & What Not To Wear” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2018

Stopping the degradation of society and saving the world isn’t limited to converting to Libertarianism.

It can start with manners and removing your hat indoors.

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take off your hat

Take the hat off

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Are Open Borders Libertarian? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2018

Long article. Below is the basic idea.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/07/hans-hermann-hoppe/immigration-and-libertarianism/

By 

…But on what grounds should there be a right to un-restricted, “free” immigration? No one has a right to move to a place already occupied by someone else, unless he has been invited by the present occupant. And if all places are already occupied, all migration is migration by invitation only. A right to “free” immigration exists only for virgin country, for the open frontier… Read the rest of this entry »

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