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Offlineunbeliever
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Libertarianism and my .sig
    #3211107 - 10/03/04 10:05 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

This post has been created at the request of another PAL poster who wanted to discuss my signature. First let me say that I didn't make it up, I came across it as someone else's sig on another message board. At first it just appealed to the kind of humor I appreciate. Then after thinking more about it I realised it also reflected how I felt about that topic.

My own political leanings are a bit different than a lot of people's. For example, fiscally speaking I am conservative. On the other hand I am very socially liberal. At a passing glance that does seem to be similar to the idea of Libertarianism. However, after much research, conversation and comparison of the party and it's stances I just can not in any way consider myself part of it.

So lets dissect the sig itself:

Quote:

Libertarianism: All the compassion of Fascism, with the real-world economic applicability of Communism.




Fascism obviously is not a compassionate agenda or idealogy to hold. However the comparison isn't between fascism and libertarianism, only the relative associated compassion of each. The idea that everyone should fend for themselves and if you're not successful it's your own fault, sometimes expressed with the odious concept of pulling oneself up by your own boot straps, is diametrically opposed to my own beliefs. I base my whole philosophy on compassion and responsibility. Not just personal responsibility but social responsibility as well. I think from those two points, compassion and responsibility, many good and positive things will flow. Again I reiterate that the comparison is not between fascism and libertarianism themselves.

As for the second part, real-world economic applicability of communism: To me, communism is a great idea. It expresses the untinctured perfection of civilized society. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible to obtain. It would be a bit like having a master sculptor comissioned to create the finest piece of art using play doh. Humanity is in no way capable of implimenting communism at any scale greater than a small tribal/village setting and even then it's imperfect. And for the record, Soviet Russia or China are hardly examples of communism, they're examples of oppressive governments calling themselves communists.

Now how does any of that apply to libertarianism? Simple, the idea of no taxes, hardly any restrictions on personal "freedom" and no public services beyond simple protection is a pipe dream. There are too many people, too many existing problems, too many complexities and general dynamics to any society today for any large scale application of libertarianism. We do not exist in a vacuum.

Anyway, that is the explanation for my support of my .sig. I also find it funny and do recognize that, as in all good comedy, there is at least a flavor of exaggeration. Now, on with the discussion, debate, heckling and what have you.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211177 - 10/03/04 10:25 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Compassion is giving voluntarily to your fellow man that which is yours. It is NOT forcing others upon threat of imprisonment to give to their fellow. You own your life, and you are responsible for it. You do not own the lives of others. Also, I'd like to point out the inefficiency of government welfare. If I see a homeless person on the street, I could give him $15 directly, or I could give up that money to the government, who would then process it through a massive bureaucracy, with all kinds of handling expenses, and he'd be lucky to get $0.10 out of that original $15.

As for the economic applicability of libertarianism, there are several means of revenue other than income taxes. There are tariffs and excise taxes which are specifically accounted for in the original Constitution(not in the 16th ammendment). Income taxes only account for a very small portion of the government's revenue, and if we cut back government to a managable size and scope as dictated by the Constitution, we could have more than enough revenue to cover expenses. Also realize that the free market will always be more efficient than what the government can offer, even when it comes to its Constitutionally allowable duties. For example, the Constitution allows for the government to set up a postal service, but if you have a package that absolutely, positively has to get to its destination by tomorrow, do you use the U.S. Postal Service, or do you use FedEx?


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211230 - 10/03/04 10:38 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Also, I'd like to point out the inefficiency of government welfare. If I see a homeless person on the street, I could give him $15 directly, or I could give up that money to the government, who would then process it through a massive bureaucracy, with all kinds of handling expenses, and he'd be lucky to get $0.10 out of that original $15.




Isn't that exactly what Badnarik said during the debate last week?


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: cb9fl]
    #3211260 - 10/03/04 10:44 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
Quote:

Also, I'd like to point out the inefficiency of government welfare. If I see a homeless person on the street, I could give him $15 directly, or I could give up that money to the government, who would then process it through a massive bureaucracy, with all kinds of handling expenses, and he'd be lucky to get $0.10 out of that original $15.




Isn't that exactly what Badnarik said during the debate last week?



More or less. What's your point?


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: silversoul7]
    #3211291 - 10/03/04 10:49 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
Compassion is giving voluntarily to your fellow man that which is yours. It is NOT forcing others upon threat of imprisonment to give to their fellow. You own your life, and you are responsible for it. You do not own the lives of others. Also, I'd like to point out the inefficiency of government welfare. If I see a homeless person on the street, I could give him $15 directly, or I could give up that money to the government, who would then process it through a massive bureaucracy, with all kinds of handling expenses, and he'd be lucky to get $0.10 out of that original $15.

As for the economic applicability of libertarianism, there are several means of revenue other than income taxes. There are tariffs and excise taxes which are specifically accounted for in the original Constitution(not in the 16th ammendment). Income taxes only account for a very small portion of the government's revenue, and if we cut back government to a managable size and scope as dictated by the Constitution, we could have more than enough revenue to cover expenses. Also realize that the free market will always be more efficient than what the government can offer, even when it comes to its Constitutionally allowable duties. For example, the Constitution allows for the government to set up a postal service, but if you have a package that absolutely, positively has to get to its destination by tomorrow, do you use the U.S. Postal Service, or do you use FedEx?




Okay. Lets trim off all those useless government programs. Like these below, totally worthless eh?

Office for Civil Rights
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Centers for Disease Control
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
National Park Services
United States Geological Survey
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

I could go on, but I won't. I will say I agree that a lot of (tax) money is spent on unnecessary expenses, the war in Iraq for example, the increase of our nuclear stockpile and technology for another. Being that I am a stone's throw from being a socialist, taxes don't bother me one bit, my primary concern is that they are spent properly on things that matter most to the betterment of our society. Trimming the government down to foreign and domestic police protection will not accomplish this.

As for compassion, I am gladdened to hear you would be willing to give cash from your pocket to a less fortunate individual. One day when the majority of mankind is that selfless we won't need many of the above programs, they will come naturally out of respect, compassion and responsibility.


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InvisibleKingOftheThing
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211381 - 10/03/04 11:07 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

yeah i like a few libetarian social view, but there economic plan doesn't work, period. i mean you can go back to the turn of the 20th century to see what working conditions were like in america. there ideas sound good on paper


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Offlinehound
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211417 - 10/03/04 11:14 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:


Now how does any of that apply to libertarianism? Simple, the idea of no taxes, hardly any restrictions on personal "freedom"




I am in no way a spokesman for the Libertarian Party but in response to your above statement of, "hardly any restrictions on personal "freedom" "; without getting into a debate whether restrictions on freedom is a good or bad thing, is a bit misleading.

The only Libertarian policy I know of about the subject is that; There should be no laws unless a certain action results in the harm of another person or their property.

Sounds reasonable to me. You find that unreasonable ?


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: KingOftheThing]
    #3211430 - 10/03/04 11:18 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

KingOftheThing said:
yeah i like a few libetarian social view, but there economic plan doesn't work, period. i mean you can go back to the turn of the 20th century to see what working conditions were like in america. there ideas sound good on paper




Exactly. Laissez-faire just does not apply to our current industrialised society. Also as I mentioned before, man's basic nature does not allow for a true application of this system any more than it does for communism. In fact it's the same reasons that communism can never truly work, greed and the desire for power over others, that prohibit the extreme opposite from functioning either.


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: hound]
    #3211444 - 10/03/04 11:20 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

hound said:
Quote:


Now how does any of that apply to libertarianism? Simple, the idea of no taxes, hardly any restrictions on personal "freedom"




I am in no way a spokesman for the Libertarian Party but in response to your above statement of, "hardly any restrictions on personal "freedom" "; without getting into a debate whether restrictions on freedom is a good or bad thing, is a bit misleading.

The only Libertarian policy I know of about the subject is that; There should be no laws unless a certain action results in the harm of another person or their property.

Sounds reasonable to me. You find that unreasonable ?




No, but man is a complex creature and the definition of "harm" can and does vary greatly. Sit in on any malpractice trial and watch the jury define the differences between the compensatory and punitive damage payouts and you'll see what I mean.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211461 - 10/03/04 11:23 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

unbeliever said:
Okay. Lets trim off all those useless government programs. Like these below, totally worthless eh?

Office for Civil Rights
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Centers for Disease Control
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
National Park Services
United States Geological Survey
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.



Ok, let me go through these one by one:

Office for Civil Rights

"The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights."

Why do we need a separate agency to secure our rights? That is the job of government(in fact, the ONLY legitimate function of government). As for equal access to education, what level of education are we talking about? Does every citizen have a right to a college education? Graduate School? Can every citizen get access to the higher educational standards found in private schools? Education and schooling do not mean the same thing. There was actually a higher literacy rate in this country prior to public education than there is now.

I'll skip the next two links as they also have to do with public education, which is HIGHLY unnecessary, and extraordinarily inefficient.

Centers for Disease Control

Do you honestly believe that such organizations could not or would not be set up privately? Again I stand by my assertion that the free market could do all that this department does for less money at better efficiency.

Administration for Children and Families

"The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a federal agency funding state, territory, local, and tribal organizations to provide family assistance (welfare), child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families."

Ah, so in other words they're in the business of taking money stolen from me, the taxpayer, and redistributing it to those whom they deem to be "needy." We have a thing called "charity" which is privately funded, and does a much better job of this.

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Apparently a department set up to interfere with free market transactions having to do with housing.

National Park Services

National Parks should be sold to private organizations such as the Sierra Club(assuming they're willing to put their money where their mouth is), who would presumably take better care of them than by two parties fed by massive campaign contributions from corporations.

United States Geological Survey

Again, do you really think that scientists are not capable of establishing a private organization which can accomplish the same purpose?

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Perhaps you haven't heard of something called "Consumer Reports," which informs consumers around the country about the quality of various different products. If a product is unsafe, all one need do is raise awareness about it, and put pressure on the company to do a recall. No need to get the government involved.


So far, you have yet to show me a single government department whose goals could not be better carried out by the free market.


Quote:

I could go on, but I won't. I will say I agree that a lot of (tax) money is spent on unnecessary expenses, the war in Iraq for example, the increase of our nuclear stockpile and technology for another. Being that I am a stone's throw from being a socialist, taxes don't bother me one bit, my primary concern is that they are spent properly on things that matter most to the betterment of our society. Trimming the government down to foreign and domestic police protection will not accomplish this.



Actually it will, but you just are so determined that government is the solution to all this, when you cannot realize that in most cases, it contributes to the problem.

Quote:

As for compassion, I am gladdened to hear you would be willing to give cash from your pocket to a less fortunate individual. One day when the majority of mankind is that selfless we won't need many of the above programs, they will come naturally out of respect, compassion and responsibility.



America is the most generous nation in the world, bar-none(yes Badnarik said that in the debates. So sue me). Did the government force people to contribute billions of dollars to the victims of the September 11th attacks? No. People did so voluntarily out of the kindness of their hearts. I find it laughable to think that people would be so stingy as to knowingly let other Americans starve to death.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlinehound
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211475 - 10/03/04 11:25 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Could be. But my focus was more on criminal law than civil law. If you havn't harmed another or their property you do not belong in jail.

I think reasonable men and woman can come to agreements on what constitutes "harm".


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211483 - 10/03/04 11:28 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

The problem with privatizing everything is that there is no longer any accountability, transparency or impartiality. That is the premise anyway, unfortunately, again because of the imperfect nature of man, the same problems can plague government agencies as well. Especially under an administration like the current one.

I don't trust corporations to do what's best for everybody. I don't trust people to do what's right on a consistant enough basis that I think we should abolish all government programs. I don't always trust my government either, but a least there is some form of control as well as checks and balances. I stand by my opinions.


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: silversoul7]
    #3211492 - 10/03/04 11:30 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Maybe you should look at the largest corporation in the world as an example of what capitalism can bring.

Walmart http://www.alternet.org/story/12962

If you think a large government is evil and that it should be kept in check do you also think that large corporations are evil and should be kept in check? The free market would favor the lowest price which large unethical corporations could bring. Who is to keep those corporations in check?


--------------------
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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Offlinehound
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: cb9fl]
    #3211500 - 10/03/04 11:32 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

I'm just curious; Do you shop at WalMart ?


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: hound]
    #3211517 - 10/03/04 11:37 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

hound said:
Could be. But my focus was more on criminal law than civil law. If you havn't harmed another or their property you do not belong in jail.

I think reasonable men and woman can come to agreements on what constitutes "harm".




Well there are a lot of ways of "harming" other people and not just on the individual level. Industry destroys and pollutes the environment, rendering great harm, both immediately and down the road, to everybody. Unregulated, profit driven companies create faulty products that can injure and kill.

I definitely think the government needs to be trimmed of a lot of it's fat, I am a fiscal conservative after all. I think the money saved from cutting nuclear weapons research, pointless wars, corporate welfare, tax cuts for the rich, etc could be put to use in the kind of programs that better society. If this was done properly and with over-sight then yes government could "solve" a lot of problems and we, the people, would still have the right to maintain some control.

If you have read any neal stephenson or william gibson or other "cyber-punk" authors, one of the ideas they explore are futures where corporations control all the public services and etc. Now granted these examples are designed to sell books but I think it points to a very possible extreme down a slippery slope* which would be anything but a fun themepark ride.

*normally I hate that term, but eh.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211518 - 10/03/04 11:37 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Private organizations are indeed accountable. They are accountable to their members, and if they are a business, they are accountable to their customers. If they do not satisfy their customers, other businesses may pop up which provide a better alternative. It's called competition, and it's the beauty of capitalism. As for transparency, I fail to see how you would find any transparency in massive government bureacracy. Same thing goes for impartiality, considering that this government is essentially bought by those same corporations you distrust so much. I would venture to say that you hold more power and control as a consumer than you do as a voter. You can vote with your dollar. You can choose not to buy from businesses whose practices you disagree with. You can choose to reward organizations whose work you appreciate by giving them donations. And who do you think the government panders to more--those who give them votes, or those who give them money?


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: cb9fl]
    #3211526 - 10/03/04 11:39 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
Maybe you should look at the largest corporation in the world as an example of what capitalism can bring.

Walmart http://www.alternet.org/story/12962

If you think a large government is evil and that it should be kept in check do you also think that large corporations are evil and should be kept in check? The free market would favor the lowest price which large unethical corporations could bring. Who is to keep those corporations in check?




Walmart has a lot of black marks on it's record. Then you also have companies like Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing, Tyco and etc. Companies who looked after themselves (and their CEOs) first and foremost and last.

Not all corporations are evil, most of them aren't. But the fewer restrictions and controls you have the more use and abuse you're going to have, period.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: cb9fl]
    #3211527 - 10/03/04 11:39 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Don't like WalMart? Don't shop there. Simple as that.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: unbeliever]
    #3211540 - 10/03/04 11:41 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

unbeliever said:
Quote:

cb9fl said:
Maybe you should look at the largest corporation in the world as an example of what capitalism can bring.

Walmart http://www.alternet.org/story/12962

If you think a large government is evil and that it should be kept in check do you also think that large corporations are evil and should be kept in check? The free market would favor the lowest price which large unethical corporations could bring. Who is to keep those corporations in check?




Walmart has a lot of black marks on it's record. Then you also have companies like Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing, Tyco and etc. Companies who looked after themselves (and their CEOs) first and foremost and last.

Not all corporations are evil, most of them aren't. But the fewer restrictions and controls you have the more use and abuse you're going to have, period.



The real problem is corporate involvement in government, and you can't really stop that until you stop government involvement in the economy.

BTW, no matter how many times you assert it, you are anything but a fiscal conservative.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarianism and my .sig [Re: silversoul7]
    #3211544 - 10/03/04 11:42 PM (12 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

silversoul7 said:
Private organizations are indeed accountable. They are accountable to their members, and if they are a business, they are accountable to their customers. If they do not satisfy their customers, other businesses may pop up which provide a better alternative. It's called competition, and it's the beauty of capitalism. As for transparency, I fail to see how you would find any transparency in massive government bureacracy. Same thing goes for impartiality, considering that this government is essentially bought by those same corporations you distrust so much. I would venture to say that you hold more power and control as a consumer than you do as a voter. You can vote with your dollar. You can choose not to buy from businesses whose practices you disagree with. You can choose to reward organizations whose work you appreciate by giving them donations. And who do you think the government panders to more--those who give them votes, or those who give them money?




The special interests groups and their undue influence on government is a whole nother can of worms and something I consider to be a spreading stain of cancer on our society and government. Also, do you think Enron and their ilk would be twisting in the wind* if there was no government involement? They would just keep covering up the crimes and cooking their books. The invididual has no chance at stopping that sort of thing and I sure as hell don't expect other corporations to do it for me.

*Yes I realise this is subjective, but again.. can of worms...


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