A Libertarian Response to @GeorgeTakei #whowouldinternyou

George Takei's Twitter profile photo

George Takei’s Twitter profile photo

On September 24th, George Takei trashed Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson on his very popular Twitter account.

While this author is a huge fan of Takei (both as a Star Trek actor and for his generally witty social commentary), he’s way off on this Tweet.

Sure you can cherry pick issues where Johnson and libertarians disagree with Sanders. But he misses the two huge issues where Johnson agrees with Sanders.

  • Gary Johnson opposes all our foreign wars. Hillary supports them.
  • Gary Johnson is a long-time critic of the drug war and proponent of legalizing marijuana. Hillary wants to keep arresting poor blacks and Latinos.

Look back in history and ask yourself this question: If Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Gary Johnson were active politically during World War II, which of the three would have been most likely to support interning Japanese-Americans?

The answer is clear. Hillary would have supported Democratic President Roosevelt’s decision to intern them, while Sanders and Johnson would have opposed that. Clinton basks in FDR love during this campaign.

Takei was himself interned in a camp. You would think he’d see this but like so many in today’s insane political world, he is blinded by rage.

On the issues that matter most to many Sanders supporters, Gary Johnson is clearly the best choice of the top three candidates running.

Warren Redlich is the owner of Independent Political Report and a former Libertarian candidate. This article is Redlich’s opinion only and does not represent the IPR community.

99 thoughts on “A Libertarian Response to @GeorgeTakei #whowouldinternyou

  1. Anthony Dlugos

    “Look back in history and ask yourself this question: If Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Gary Johnson were active politically during World War II, which of the three would have been most likely to support interning Japanese-Americans?”

    excellent point.

  2. Dave

    Those on the left are getting desperate. In addition to more attacks on Johnson, I’ve heard so many people parrot the President’s utterly ridiculous argument. “A vote for no one is a vote for Trump. A vote for a third party is a vote for Trump.”

    Never mind that a good 35-40 of the states are utterly safe for one party, so the majority if not vast majority of Americans can vote for anyone they want without fear. Also never mind to my knowledge that no state, no matter how much of a swing state, has ever been decided by one vote.

    The arrogance of these people is frankly disgraceful.

  3. Anthony Dlugos

    Give it a couple more, 3 weeks if Johnson’s polling still holds.

    The fury of the Clinton machine vs. the LP has not yet reached its potential.

  4. Jill Pyeatt

    The arrogance and the shocking compliance with the mainstream media to ridicule anyone besides Hillary continues to just astound me. Don’t the journalists writing the duplicitous articles, and the news people reporting on it ever think “What the heck am I saying?”

    This is good, Warren. I’d be surprised if Takei responds, though.

  5. Andy

    “Gary Johnson opposes all our foreign wars. Hillary supports them.”

    Gary Johnson has stated that he supports “humanitarian wars”.

    “Gary Johnson is a long-time critic of the drug war and proponent of legalizing marijuana. Hillary wants to keep arresting poor blacks and Latinos.”

    Gary Johnson only wants to tax and regulate marijuana. He favors keeping the war on drugs going for other drugs which are currently illegal, and since he wants to tax and regulate marijuana, that would mean that he must favor some kind of war on untaxed and unregulated marijuana.

  6. Andy

    George Takei is right about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are no legitimate libertarian arguments in favor of that, as it is a net negative.

  7. Bondurant

    Takei is a run-of-the-mill partisan Democrat. He’s smart enough to know that Hillary is a terrible candidate but he’ll shill for anyone with a D next to his/her name on the ballot. He’s not even worth engaging on this front.

    He makes quarterly week long appearances on The Howard Stern Show. Very funny guy and willing to do bits like judge a pretty penis contest but whenever anything political comes up he always shills for the political party that sent him to a concentration camp.

  8. Be Rational

    ” … Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are no legitimate libertarian arguments in favor of that, as it is a net negative.”

    … from someone who has never read the document, let alone analyzed it.

  9. Gene Berkman

    A historical note. In California, where Governor Earl Warren (later on the Supreme Court) administered the internment of Japanese Americans, The Santa Ana Register was the largest daily newspaper to oppose the internment.

    The Register – later the Orange County Register – was owned and edited by R.C. Hoile, a committed libertarian who wrote editorials in opposition to the income tax, the draft, segregation laws, and the attacks on the civil liberties of Japanese Americans and others during the war.

    Good co.umn, Warren!

  10. Andy

    “Be Rational
    October 2, 2016 at 15:53
    ”;… Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are no legitimate libertarian arguments in favor of that, as it is a net negative.’

    … from someone who has never read the document, let alone analyzed it.”

    So have you read all 5,544 pages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Has Gary Johnson read all 5,544 pages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

    Must one read the entire 5,544 pages to know that it is a bad bill?

  11. Andy

    Here is a press release last year from Libertarian Party National Chairman, Nicholas Sarwark, about the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

    Secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill lets foreign governments and foreign special interests control American medical care, banking, the Internet, and even civil liberties

    https://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/secretive-trans-pacific-partnership-trade-bill-lets-foreign-governments-and

    Press Release
    For Immediate Release
    Friday, June 19, 2015

    Secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill lets foreign governments and foreign special interests control American medical care, banking, the Internet, and even civil liberties

    Republicans howled when Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass [Obamacare] so that you can find out what is in it.” Now GOP lawmakers, who control the U.S. House, are following suit in their passage of a new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill.

    After rejecting an earlier version of the bill last week, the House passed a new TPP bill on June 18 which gives President Obama carte blanche to negotiate and sign a massive anti-American trade treaty with eleven other Pacific nations without public oversight or news coverage. They’ll have a short period of time, after the hundreds-of-pages-long treaty is finally published, to cast an up-or-down, take-it-or-leave-it vote.

    Although Congress will get to see the text of the final treaty before the final vote, they and the American public will have insufficient time to review it. Congress will be under intense pressure to pass it, and serious objections will likely be given short shrift. This appears to be their plan, allowing them to avoid public scrutiny of TPP’s provisions until after it is passed and the heat is off.

    “The two old parties will happily work together to get special favors for particular industries and interests, even if they have to hide the specifics from the American people to do so,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee.

    While the current version of the treaty remains hidden from public view, portions of it have been released by WikiLeaks. They already show that it betrays and trumps the U.S. Constitution, sells out American freedoms, and grants foreign governments vast control over American medicine, the Internet, banking services, intellectual property, and civil liberties. It also grants multi-national corporations the right to sue the U.S. government where domestic companies are forbidden to do so.

    “The Libertarian Party opposes TPP and other secretive pacts being negotiated between the U.S. and countries worldwide, including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA),” said Sarwark. “The Libertarian Party supports free trade with all people and countries around the world. Real free trade is the reduction of barriers and the de-escalation of trade wars — not secret negotiations over winners and losers.”

    “The vast majority of job losses in America did not result from trade agreements,” he continued. “The real culprits are the politicians and special interests who push for onerous government regulations, high taxes, and trade barriers that weaken American companies and which also prohibit American families from openly and freely shopping for the best buys for their families.”

    “To actually help the American economy, we should simply repeal laws and withdraw from trade agreements that violate the Constitution or restrict free and open trade. This will stimulate the American economy, preserve and expand our diminishing freedoms, and maintain our sovereignty as a nation,” said Sarwark.

  12. Andy

    Cato is also made up of a lot of libertarian lite beltway cosmotarians. That is why some people call it the Stato Institute.

  13. Jill Pyeatt

    but I am sure that is just more grist for Andy’s NWO/CFR/Reptillian tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.

    I know you all have fun making fun of Andy, but I’ve never heard him talk about reptilians. And, for the record, millions of people believe a New World Order is a serious threat to this country, including me. In fact, most people I know recognize the threat, although to varying degrees.

  14. Andy

    “Jill Pyeatt
    October 2, 2016 at 17:04
    ‘but I am sure that is just more grist for Andy’s NWO/CFR/Reptillian tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.’

    I know you all have fun making fun of Andy, but I’ve never heard him talk about reptilians. And, for the record, millions of people believe a New World Order is a serious threat to this country, including me. In fact, most people I know recognize the threat, although to varying degrees.”

    Jill, people like Anthony like to throw in stuff like Reptilians, or other things that sound outlandish that people never said, as a way of discrediting them.

    I am aware of David Icke and the Reptilian theory, but I have never gotten on board with it or promoted it.

  15. Dave

    Andy, do you believe aliens have visited Earth or had contact with our government? Ive always found that particular set of conspiracies fascinating personally. Not sure if I believe in them, but it’s something I’ve been reading about lately.

  16. Andy

    “Anthony Dlugos
    October 2, 2016 at 17:06
    Fair enough. Not sure Cato is part of it, though.”

    I don’t think that everything that Cato does is bad. The problem is that they are infested with libertarian lites and sell outs and phonies. This is likely due to some of their funding sources and being located in DC probably attracts some of these type of people as well.

    The Ludwig von Mises Institute is a more solid outfit in my opinion (now I’m sure somebody will chime in with criticisms of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, like they are “neo-confederates” or racists or religious fanatics or whatever else).

  17. Andy

    “Dave
    October 2, 2016 at 17:49
    Andy, do you believe aliens have visited Earth or had contact with our government? Ive always found that particular set of conspiracies fascinating personally.”

    I do not know.

  18. Luchorpan

    Vote Libertarian to… legalise pot? :/

    Gary’s anti-war positioning is his only positive, but he doesn’t seem to even understand foreign affairs. Ron Paul always knows what’s going on. There is a huge difference.

  19. Anthony Dlugos

    Yea, I call myself an agnostic on the alien visitation issue as well.

    If someone put a gun to my head, I’d guess ‘no, extra-terrestrials have not visited here,’ but I wouldn’t be surprised if the gun then went off. There’s a whole lotta circumstantial evidence there.

  20. George Dance

    For a more balanced look at the TPP, please read:

    “Cato Trade Scholars Endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership”

    from the abstract:

    “The TPP is not free trade. Like all other U.S. trade agreements, the TPP is a managed trade agreement, with provisions that both liberalize and restrict trade and investment. Some free traders would reject the TPP out of hand for its failure to eliminate all restrictions.

    “While such comprehensive trade liberalization would be ideal, expecting the TPP to deliver real free trade is unrealistic. That outcome is simply politically unattainable. Holding out for the ideal would make the perfect the enemy of the good, when the good is very likely better than the status quo. If the TPP will deliver more trade liberalization than restriction, and realistic alternatives to more comprehensive liberalization are unavailable, why not support the TPP?”

  21. Anthony Dlugos

    “…expecting the TPP to deliver real free trade is unrealistic. That outcome is simply politically unattainable.”

    Now you’ve done it! Purist gonna blow a gasket!”

  22. Starchild

    Simply asserting that the TPP is pro-free-trade is not enough. Proponents need to show that its trade-liberalizing aspects outweigh any negatives it may contain, such as intellectual property enforcement, labor regulations, rules favoring large multinational companies at the expense of smaller competitors, etc. The sausage-making part of the deal can’t be ignored either, because secret backroom dealing among governments poses a danger to freedom and the public interest. If the Cato Institute has such evidence, I’d encourage supporters to post those detailed arguments.

  23. Deran

    I think this does speak to Clinton’s desperation. Her campaign is more worried abt Leftists voting for Johnson than they are abt us voting for Stein.

    This is why it’s unfortunate Johnson chose not to participate in Democracy Now’s recast of the presidential debate. He could make serious inroads into the Left electorate. Even if he does support such tomfoolery as various “free” trade pacts.

  24. Andy

    “George Dance
    October 2, 2016 at 20:52
    I’m sure the response will be that the Cato crowd aren’t real libertarians, either.”

    They aren’t, or at least some of them are not.

  25. Andy

    “George Dance
    October 2, 2016 at 19:49
    For a more balanced look at the TPP, please read:

    ‘Cato Trade Scholars Endorse the Trans-Pacific Partnership’

    from the abstract:

    ‘The TPP is not free trade. Like all other U.S. trade agreements, the TPP is a managed trade agreement, with provisions that both liberalize and restrict trade and investment. Some free traders would reject the TPP out of hand for its failure to eliminate all restrictions.

    ‘While such comprehensive trade liberalization would be ideal, expecting the TPP to deliver real free trade is unrealistic. That outcome is simply politically unattainable. Holding out for the ideal would make the perfect the enemy of the good, when the good is very likely better than the status quo. If the TPP will deliver more trade liberalization than restriction, and realistic alternatives to more comprehensive liberalization are unavailable, why not support the TPP?'”

    If this agreement were really just about free trade, it wouldn’t be that thousands of pages, and it could in fact just be a few sentences. All of these provisions in this that restrict or “manage” trade, and interfere with US sovereignty, are more than enough reasons to reject it.

  26. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Andy: Gary Johnson has stated that he supports “humanitarian wars”.

    And that’s a huge loophole.

    Any war can be propagandized as a “humanitarian war.” The Iraq War was supposedly about “freedom” and lifting Saddam’s tyrannical yolk off of the Iraqi people.

    Were any of our wars — or any nation’s wars — not sold on the basis of its being a “humanitarian war”?

    Maybe not in medieval times, but certainly since the Enlightenment and the rise of modern democracies, the West has sold its wars as being based on noble principles. Napoleon was supposedly fighting to uphold the ideals of the French Revolution — Equality, Liberty, Fraternity.

    The world is full of evil dictators, and even of corrupt democracies. One can always manufacture a “humanitarian” excuse to intervene.

  27. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    Deran: I think this does speak to Clinton’s desperation. Her campaign is more worried abt Leftists voting for Johnson than they are abt us voting for Stein.

    Probably because Clinton has written off Stein’s supporters. Too hardcore, too principled, to vote for Clinton.

    Whereas Johnson attracts a lot of non-libertarian, squishy voters who consider Johnson to be the least offensive, default candidate. Thus, Clinton can peal away some of Johnson’s support. She can’t do that with Stein’s support.

  28. Be Rational

    “Must one read the entire 5,544 pages to know that it is a bad bill?”

    Yes.

    Should Congress be required to read legislation before they vote on it?”

  29. Be Rational

    “Dave
    October 2, 2016 at 17:49
    Andy, do you believe aliens have visited Earth or had contact with our government? Ive always found that particular set of conspiracies fascinating personally.”
    *
    “I do not know.” Andy
    *

    Earth was settled by a group of human societies capable of light-speed travel who formed the Intergalactic Union of Solar Societies and Republics. They established a human colony on Earth to rid themselves of mental patients unable to discern conspiracy theories from reality.

    ?

  30. Tony From Long Island

    wredlich: ” . . . . Boy howdy Andy really dislikes Johnson. . . . . ”

    To the point of ridiculousness.

    Is this the first time that the LP POTUS candidate has really been attacked on policy substance? Isn’t that an indication that it is being taken seriously? That should be looked at as progress.

  31. Joshua

    The author wants to talk about cherry picking issues where Sanders and Johnson disagrees but only manages to list two issues where Sanders and Johnson agrees? Now, that’s cherry picking. The areas where Johnson and Sanders don’t agree aren’t limited to TPP, fracking, min wage, and Citizens United. Johnson also supports NAFTA, he doesn’t support making college tuition free, he doesn’t support higher income taxes for the top income earners, he doesn’t support guaranteeing healthcare as a human right, he doesn’t support equal pay for equal work for women, he doesn’t support paid sick leave, he doesn’t support paid maternity leave, he doesn’t support universally accessible child care. We could sit here all day listing off the areas of VAST disagreement between Sanders and Johnson. Listing the areas they disagree isn’t “cherry picking.” What’s cherry picking is trying to find the TWO issues where they agree. I mean, let’s just think about this rationally for just a moment, what do professed Democratic Socialists have in Common with Libertarians? Next to nothing. This pandering by Johnson and his supporters to appeal to Sanders supporters is beyond and absurd, it’s just stupid at this point. If someone supported Sanders during the primaries, I can’t imagine how or why they’d be backing Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson is the ideological opposite of Bernie Sanders. The logical options for those who supported Sanders are Stein, La Riva, and Solystik.

  32. Anthony Dlugos

    “This pandering by Johnson and his supporters to appeal to Sanders supporters is beyond and absurd, ”

    It’s called an election. Most votes wins. Don’t matter who the vote comes from, libertarian, independent, socialist, dead person.

    “I can’t imagine how or why they’d be backing Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson is the ideological opposite of Bernie Sanders. The logical options for those who supported Sanders are Stein, La Riva, and Solystik.”

    Ahh, and there is your problem: thinking people vote logically when they really vote emotionally and pragmatically. Those other names you mentioned are unqualified for the office, and no amount of ideological agreement will make a difference to everyone within thrree standard deviations of the mean in the bell curve of American voters, which means almost everyone.

  33. Andy

    “Be Rational
    October 3, 2016 at 08:24
    ‘Must one read the entire 5,544 pages to know that it is a bad bill?’

    Yes.”

    So “Be Rational,” have you read the 5,544 pages that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Does anyone here believe that Gary Johnson has read the entire 5,544 pages that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

    I’d be willing to bet that NOBODY has read all 5,544 pages that make up the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There were likely a team of people who wrote it, and but I doubt that they even read the entire bill, just likely the parts that they worked on writing.

    “Should Congress be required to read legislation before they vote on it?”

    I have long supported the Read The Bills Act, as proposed by DownsizeDC. I also like what Harry Browne said about legislation that was too long to read in a reasonable amount of time, and that is that he’d veto it if he were President.

    A general tendency that I have found in my years of involvement with politics is that the longer that a proposed piece of legislation is, the more likely it is bad, or has bad stuff buried in it, and the shorter a piece of legislation is, the more likely that it is something good.

  34. Be Rational

    So then, Andy, you should suspend judgement on the bill until after you read it, as should everyone else.

    The logical answer is not to be opposed to the bill, nor in favor.

    Gary Johnson’s position is that he has heard that TPP is, overall, an improvement and moves us closer to free trade, but that he’d reserve judgement.

    This seems a good libertarian take on TPP.

    Of course, were he elected President, and were the bill to be passed and put before him as President, he should at that point read the bill – or delegate to someone, or better several people, to read the bill and discuss its merits.

    One of the reasons Johnson gave for some of his 750 vetoes was that some bills were too long or complex for anyone to read, so it seems he’s on the same page with Harry Browne as well.

  35. wredlich Post author

    Stein is probably a better fit for most Sanders supporters. But she’s polling below Deez Nuts.

    Opposition to wars and the drug war are huge issues. If you think they’re trivial then you’re not serious.

  36. Be Rational

    “Stein is probably a better fit for most Sanders supporters. But she’s polling below Deez Nuts.
    Opposition to wars and the drug war are huge issues. If you think they’re trivial then you’re not serious.” – wredlich

    *

    It is a completely wrongheaded to make the assumption that Sanders supporters actually agreed with him on all the issues. Young voters switching from Sanders to Johnson are just as likely to have been supporting Sanders only because of his non-intervention, pro-marijuana, anti-establishment campaign and they may now be more at home with a candidate who not only supports those issues, but also wants to cut taxes and spending and reduce the damage the government is doing to an economy they will have to live in for decades to come.

    This is why the Clinton campaign, Sanders himself, and others in the fascist-socialist-progressive camp are so afraid of this swing to Johnson – it is the start of a permanent realignment as young individuals discover that government programs have failed and more government just makes things worse.

  37. Anthony Dlugos

    “It is a completely wrongheaded to make the assumption that Sanders supporters actually agreed with him on all the issues. ”

    This needs to be tattooed on the forehead of every pragmatic who shows up at future libertarian conventions. That way, purists walking around the convention hall keep getting reminded of its unequivocal truth.

    Voters are NOT making ideological decisions. That stuff is tertiary.

    Personal appeal is primary.

    Hell of a lot easier to convince a millennial about the righteousness of a libertarian approach to minimum wage law or the environment AFTER convincing them to vote for our candidate.

    The reverse theory of education first is for debate clubs & coffee klatches.

  38. ATBAFT

    “The logical options for those who supported Sanders are Stein, La Riva, and Solystik.”

    Dude, why not just vote for Santa Claus and be done with it?

  39. Be Rational

    Yeah, Perry can change his name to Santa Claus. We’ll nominate hime and put him on the ballot. No advertising, no interviews, no public events. On the ballot in all 50 states. A new strategy to give the masses what they want.

  40. Dave

    Yeah, I’ve known so many Ron Paul supporters who switched to Sanders this time around. There’s a large group of voters who are just attracted to the outsider candidate, regardless of who they are. When Kayne West or whoever runs in 2020, chances are he’ll get a lot of the same voters.

    Now that’s not to say everyone falls into these categories. Those more attracted to Bernie for his message are more likely to go with Stein or a minor left party. I do wish we could get a poll aimed at Sanders supporters and see who they’re backing now. My uneducated guess is that each of the four candidates would score double digits (Clinton for the more partisan types or who listen to Sander’s endorsement, Trump because of his outsider status, Johnson for being the most visible third party, and Stein for being the closest to Sander’s views.)

  41. Thomas Knapp

    One does not necessarily need to read the entirety of TPP (or any other treaty or law) to know if it’s bad. It’s entirely possible that there might be a single provision in a law or treat that makes it unacceptable.

    If I randomly flip open a treaty to page 329 and note that “all signatory parties agree to construct camps with gas chambers and crematoria for the liquidation of their Jewish populations, to be in operation no later than [date certain],” I don’t need to read the other 800 pages of it to know that’s pretty fucked up right there.

  42. dL

    “This seems a good libertarian take on TPP.”

    No, one can simply read the complete text on IP leaked by Wikileaks to know it has nothing to do w/ free trade and everything to with a globalized monopolistic legal framework.

  43. dL

    “Cato trade scholars endorsed the TPP on balance, but I am sure that is just more grist for Andy’s NWO/CFR/Reptillian tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.”

    Cato bureaucrats have proven themselves to be a neo mercantilist on trade…they are not principled free traders. Just as Free speech is not: “a reduced tariff on the 15000 words in the english language that I’m allowed to say, meanwhile increasing the penalties and jurisdictional reach for the words I’m not allowed to say.” What kind of fool would call that “free speech”? The same one who would call TPP “free trade.” That is not in any sense an improvement, an incremental step in progress. It is exactly what it reads like. And when you justify it as means to continue the geo political primacy of the United States relative to China or Russia, then that makes a mercantilist.

    The only principled position on free trade is unilateral free trade. Anything else either demands active opposition or at best, a passive “meh.” Certainly not an active support. Cato, being a by and large DC GOP think tank, is not interested in principled positions. It follows the public choice political economy of seeking influence..primarily with the auctioneers of the Republican party.

  44. dL

    RE: Takei

    I peeked at his timeline. He is a standard fare partisan democrat. Just to point out, Clinton supports TPP, fracking too. And she certainly has privately taken advantage of of Citizen’s United(while publicly bad mouthing it). And re: “minimum wage.” The best libertarian comeback would be “we support a retroactive minimum wage for the prison labor of all those people Bill Clinton put in jail back in the 90s.”

  45. George Dance

    Starchild: “Simply asserting that the TPP is pro-free-trade is not enough. Proponents need to show that its trade-liberalizing aspects outweigh any negatives.”

    True. That’s why I gave the link to the Cato analysis; those interested in the conclusion can read the clause-by-clause analysis it was based on.

    By the same token, opponents need to show that the TPP’s trade-restricting aspects outweigh the positives.

    That hasn’t been done, at least by the “libertarian libertarian” opponents. All they’ve done is introduce yet another libertarian “principle” (antiglobalism) to argue that the TPP is unlibertarian.

    When they do get into details, some of them (like the argument that the TPP “erodes national sovereignty” by setting up a super-national dispute resolution panels with authority to overrule government economic interventions) have nothing to do with actual libertarianism.

  46. George Dance

    dL – ” Clinton supports TPP”

    Maybe secretly. But publicly, she opposes it. Of Clinton, Trump, Johnson, Stein, and Castle, Johnson’s the only candidate in the race publicly supporting TPP.

  47. George Dance

    dL – “The only principled position on free trade is unilateral free trade. Anything else either demands active opposition or at best, a passive “meh.” ”

    Then the Libertarian Party should have no position on TPP, since either passing it or defeating it leads to a ‘meh’ situation.

  48. George Dance

    T. Knapp: “What is all this “outweigh” crap?
    See Mises, Ludwig von, “calculation problem, the.”

    The Calculation problem refers to the impossibility of an authority setting prices without market information. It does not refer to a scholar looking at two alternative scenarios, and deciding one is more or less restrictive than the other.

    “Outweigh” means that, looking at all the treaty clause-by-clause, there are more “less restrictive” than “more restrictive” ones; or perhaps that the “less restrictive ones will have a greater impact on the economy. I haven’t read the report, and don’t plan to.

  49. Thomas Knapp

    “The Calculation problem refers to the impossibility of an authority setting prices without market information.”

    Not precisely. Let’s go directly to the source:

    “Judgments of value do not measure; they merely establish grades and scales. Even Robinson Crusoe, when he has to make a decision where no ready judgment of value appears and where he has to construct one upon the basis of a more or less exact estimate, cannot operate solely with subjective use value, but must take into consideration the intersubstitutability of goods on the basis of which he can then form his estimates. In such circumstances it will be impossible for him to refer all things back to one unit. Rather will he, so far as he can, refer all the elements which have to be taken into account in forming his estimate to those economic goods which can be apprehended by an obvious judgment of value — that is to say, to goods of a lower order and to pain-cost. That this is only possible in very simple conditions is obvious. In the case of more complicated and more lengthy processes of production it will, plainly, not answer.”

    TPP is complicated and lengthy, comprising thousands of pages of provisions without commensurably unitizable economic impacts. The idea that some kid at Cato can take off his shoes and count “good stuff” on his fingers and “bad stuff” on his toes, then subtract the latter from the former to tell us whether the thing is “net” good or not is, well, fucking stupid.

  50. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    “It is a completely wrongheaded to make the assumption that Sanders supporters actually agreed with him on all the issues. ”

    Anthony Dlugos: This needs to be tattooed on the forehead of every pragmatic who shows up at future libertarian conventions. That way, purists walking around the convention hall keep getting reminded of its unequivocal truth.

    Voters are NOT making ideological decisions. That stuff is tertiary.

    False dichotomy. You’re talking about two different issues. Popular appeal and ideological purity. These are not contradictory.

    Just because Johnson (or Sanders, or Trump) has popular appeal is no reason for the LP to nominate him. The LP’s goal should be to find a candidate with both popular appeal and high principles. It’s not either/or.

    LP delegates should first eliminate all candidates who fall short of libertarian principles. Then the LP should choose, from among those remaining, the one with the most popular appeal.

  51. George Dance

    Andy – “Ron Paul Opposes Treasonous TPP Trade Deal”

    Oh, that’s all we need: So-called libertarians going on about “treason” and “traitors”.

  52. dL

    “The Calculation problem refers to the impossibility of an authority setting prices without market information.”

    That’s a misstatement of Hayek’s “Knowledge Problem.” Hayek’s Knowledge Problem…Hayek’s definitive response to the problem originally debated in the Socialist calculation Debates, refers to the inability of the Walrasian auctioneer(the central planner) to set supply and demand for a Walrasian General Equilibrium condition w/o knowledge of prices. Obviously, a central planner CAN certainly dictate/SET prices all it wants. But it won’t be a General Equilibrium condition(i.e., one sans shortages, misallocation, etc). The computer science analogy would have prices as inputs to a computer program/algorithm for General Equilibrium.

    Mises’ Calculation problem holds that even with the knowledge of price(inputs), no computer algorithm, no external calculating source, could ever program a General Equilibrium condition. Though often conflated with one another, these two positions/principles are not the same. Mises’ Calculation problem was formulated contemporaneously at the time of the original social calculation debates. And it was held at the time that Mises lost those debates. Hayek’s solution came a couple of decades later and retrospectively was held to be a solution that won the debates(in retrospect, of course).

    TPP/Free Trade Agreements have nothing really to do with a centralized price setter. It is about centralized market setting. A centralized compliance/regulatory setting. Indeed, most of TPP doesn’t even deal w/ trade. Maybe 5 of the 29 chapters broach upon actual trade topics. The remaining 24 chapters involve an international compliance/DRO framework. A framework negotiated in secret and which supersedes any local jurisdiction. In the language of political science/public choice, you have a rent-seeking bargain in secret serving as decision-making rule(i.e, constitution). The paranoia is not among the “tin foil hats” or the conspiracy theorists. The paranoia is with the negotiators who treat the document as a CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT.

    “By the same token, opponents need to show that the TPP’s trade-restricting aspects outweigh the positives.”

    No they don’t. That’s an authoritarian presumption. Fuck that. The libertarian/liberal presumption places the demonstrative burden on the advocates of this rent-seeking anathema. Since it is being negotiated in secret, it is not a burden that can be met. By definition.

    “Then the Libertarian Party should have no position on TPP, since either passing it or defeating it leads to a ‘meh’ situation.”

    No, this is one where the LP should have a strong stance against. Neither passage nor defeat results in a ‘meh’ outcome. Avoiding bad outcomes like secretly negotiated decision-making rules on international compliance/regulation in relation to 21st century political digital economy is not a ‘meh’ outcome.

  53. dL

    ” I haven’t read the report, and don’t plan to.”

    Then why are moving your lips on the topic? As if you have any idea what you are talking about? Sort of reinforces the point that the use of language like “purist, tin foil hats, conspiracy theorist” is the bromide of a know-nothing anti-intellectualism.

  54. langa

    This idea that you have to read every single page of the TPP to know that it’s a bad idea is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Do you have to read “Mein Kampf” or the “Communist Manifesto” from cover to cover to know that Hitler and Marx were nuts?

  55. langa

    And as far as Cato, they are OK when it comes to things like the minimum wage, where the correct libertarian position is obvious. But when it comes to pseudo-libertarian ideas like trade agreements or school vouchers, they are almost always on the wrong side. The reason is because they believe, or at least pretend to believe, that the government can improve on free market outcomes, while any true libertarian knows better than that.

  56. Thomas Knapp

    I’m not especially in the business of slagging Cato, but they are what they are. Or, rather, what they have become.

    The idea when the Institute started was that it would be a libertarian policy institute. Being headquartered in San Francisco and with Murray Rothbard on the board, it was the kind of organization that could be expected to take a pretty hard line without worrying about consequences.

    But then Cato moved to Washington, DC, and began operating as a sort of general congressional lobbying think tank — for example, producing an annual policy handbook for members of Congress (and for its members/donors — when I worked for a partner organization, I got a copy each year). That implied a change toward emphasizing, for lack of a better term, “the art of the possible.”

    It was probably inevitable that over time the emphasis would then drift along a continuum from “the art of the possible” to “the art of making sure our phone calls get returned and that we get to have dinner at our favorite restaurants with people the other customers will recognize and be jealous of us over because we get to hang out with the DC equivalent of A-List celebrities and they don’t.”

    It’s not that the people at Cato are bad people. It’s that Cato started out as the equivalent of a restaurant review magazine, but then eventually became one of the sausage industry’s trade/PR journals.

  57. Thomas Knapp

    “Is there a free market now between the signatories of the TPP?”

    There was not a free market between the signatories of the TPP before TPP was negotiated.

    There is not a free market between the signatories of the TPP now that negotiations have ended and the signatories’ governments are considering ratification/implementation.

    There will not be a free market between the signatories of the TPP once the treaty is ratified/implemented.

    In point of fact, some provisions of the TPP specifically prohibit free markets and require the signatory states to suppress such markets.

  58. langa

    Is there a free market now between the signatories of the TPP.?

    No, but I fail to see why that’s relevant. There is currently a minimum wage. That doesn’t mean libertarians should endorse its continued existence, let alone raising it. On the contrary, we should advocate repealing it. More generally, we should advocate moving closer to a free market, rather than further away from one. For that reason, we should oppose the TPP (and all other “managed” trade pacts).

    It’s funny. I don’t remember any criticism of Nick Sarwark when he put out the press release condemning the TPP. Now, all of a sudden, Gary’s Groupies are hailing it as a wonderful piece of “free trade” legislation? What changed?

  59. langa

    TK, I think you have it right about Cato. They have gradually become a “go along to get along” operation.

  60. Anthony Dlugos

    Well, I can only say that I am okay with TPP for “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” reasons, so I’m with Cato here.

  61. Thomas Knapp

    Anthony,

    “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” implies that there’s a “good” in question.

    There are a number of areas in which TPP makes trade MORE, not LESS regulated, including but not limited to environmental clauses, organized labor clauses, minimum wage clauses, working hour standards clauses, intellectual property clauses, etc.

    Incrementalism — “baby steps” in the right direction — is one thing. TPP is not incrementalism, it’s a dog’s breakfast of good stuff and bad stuff with no way to calculate “net” good or bad effects.

  62. Robert Capozzi

    I played softball for the Cato team in the early to mid 80s. Our fight song was

    2, 4, 6, 8
    Organize to smash the state!

    If TPP hits Prez GJ’s desk and it likely helps Americans raise their standard of living, it seems foolish to me to not sign it. Not signing as part of a nonarchic jihad/sacramental statement also strikes me as foolish.

  63. Thomas Knapp

    “If TPP hits Prez GJ’s desk”

    Since TPP has already been signed, and since Johnson will never be president, that’s not an “if” of any consequence.

  64. dL

    “If TPP hits Prez GJ’s desk and it likely helps Americans raise their standard of living, it seems foolish to me to not sign it.”

    Long way away from Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom.” the argument that capitalism was a necessary condition for liberal political freedom. Given that liberal political freedom in the age of ubiquitous surveillance is a dinosaur, the argument has shifted to “Capitalism and Prosperity.” This, of course, is an ends justifies the means rationale, noting that the monsters of the 20th century, Stalin, Hitler, and Chairman Mao all embarked on policies that though wretched nonetheless dramatically improved the macroeconomic conditions of their respective countries(look it up if you don’t believe it). That is, mass murder, suppression, political authoritarianism raised the standard of living relative to earlier regimes in Russia, Germany and China. You can shovel a lot of shit into the “prosperity justifies the policy” hole.

  65. dL

    “COMMENCE LIBERTARIAN CIRCLE JERK! I EJACULATE FIRST WITH BLOCK!!”

    i understand you are the vanguard of know-nothing anti-intellectualism and generally possess shit for brains, but at least wipe you ass before moving your lips. What I wrote has absolutely nothing to do w/ that piece by Block. Indeed as I was quoting Friedman as the old standard for classical liberalism, as someone who influenced me as a teenager. Arguing with you knuckleheads on this board lis like conversing w/ 75 IQ slow wit who learned to say “Purist” in special ed class. The only thing you learned.

  66. Anthony Dlugos

    Sir! I’ll have you know it’s scotch, not shit for brains.

    No matter. After reading this Washington Post article from yesterday about how Governor Johnson governed in New Mexico…well, if you think I was a cheerleader before…you ain’t seen nothing yet!!!

    The perfect Libertarian president (if elected) for our times:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/years-before-aleppo-moment-gary-johnson-showed-little-interest-in-details-of-governing/2016/10/03/f62a00fa-873d-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html?tid=sm_fb

    Fire away, ye’ Purists

  67. Anthony Dlugos

    Sir! I’ll have you know it’s scotch, not shit for brains.

    No matter. After reading this Washington Post article from yesterday about how Governor Johnson governed in New Mexico…well, if you think I was a cheerleader before…you ain’t seen nothing yet!!!

    The perfect Libertarian president (if elected) for our times:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/years-before-aleppo-moment-gary-johnson-showed-little-interest-in-details-of-governing/2016/10/03/f62a00fa-873d-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html?tid=sm_fb

    Fire away, ye’ Purists!

  68. Be Rational

    “One does not necessarily need to read the entirety of TPP (or any other treaty or law) to know if it’s bad. It’s entirely possible that there might be a single provision in a law or treat that makes it unacceptable.

    If I randomly flip open a treaty to page 329 and note that “all signatory parties agree to construct camps with gas chambers and crematoria for the liquidation of their Jewish populations, to be in operation no later than [date certain],” I don’t need to read the other 800 pages of it to know that’s pretty fucked up right there.” TK

    ****
    If the bad provision is on page 329 and you found it by flipping to a single page and therefore knew the law was bad, that would be a great stroke of luck you shouldn’t count on.

    Yes, finding that kind of provision would make this a bad law. Knowing that there can be good things or bad on any page and that your chances of finding that page, even if you read half of the law, would only be 50/50, it is logical that you should read the whole law.

    However, no one has pointed out such a poison pill in the TPP. There are a number of good and bad items, but nothing so bad that it cannot be outweighed by something positive. This means that you have to read the whole law and then make a value judgement.

    Sure, it’s difficult and takes time, so some people defer to experts. This is risky, but it’s what we do every day in a free market, where we make choices among goods and services about which we all have incomplete information.

    Others defer to nutty conspiracy groups who have no clue what day it is. Still others defer to illogical excuses as to why they don’t have to read the whole TPP bill in order to justify making an irrational decision based on ignorance – which is the jist of flipping to page 329.

  69. Be Rational

    This idea that you have to read every single page of the TPP to know that it’s a bad idea is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Do you have to read “Mein Kampf” or the “Communist Manifesto” from cover to cover to know that Hitler and Marx were nuts? – Langa

    ****
    There is no logical reasoning in your argument.

    It’s possible for a book written by a crazy person to appear sane and it’s possible for a book written by a sane person to appear crazy.

    Marx and Hitler were nuts and we don’t have to read anything they wrote to figure that out.

  70. Thomas Knapp

    “There are a number of good and bad items, but nothing so bad that it cannot be outweighed by something positive. This means that you have to read the whole law and then make a value judgement.”

    Yes, there are some good things in it.

    Yes, there are some bad things in it.

    I try to stay away from impossible calculations. I do not know if TPP will “on net” make people’s lives better or worse. Neither does anyone else, either in the aggregate or for most particular individuals.

    My value judgment on TPP is this:

    Its attempt to rescue the dying “intellectual property” regime will fail, but will also harm many, and even almost certainly kills some, poor people in Asia, and raise the prices of both low-end and conspicuous consumption consumer goods in North America, while it’s failing.

    Its organized labor provisions will harm real, free market, grassroots labor organization by tracking signatory states into variants of the disastrous US Wagner/Taft-Hartley NLRA managerial state scheme.

    Its environmental provisions would be draconian if enforceable. They’re not enforceable, but a lot of money will be spent playing catch-me-fuck-me over them, raising prices all around.

    In point of fact, de facto free trade with Asian markets already exists at the consumer direct level, probably at a scale that overwhelms the US custom regime. I know that I order probably two or three low-price consumer items direct from Hong Kong every month. Thirty years ago, the only way I would have got the mount for a bike light that I have on the way right now would have been to buy it at an enormous markup from a middleman retailer. Now I just need to know four letters: E, B, A and Y. And I get it for a fraction of what I would have paid, even with it being individually shipped.

    A main goal of TPP is to put the Asia to US consumer trade back under the management and control of those middlemen so they can more effectively e.g. claim they “own” the right to put a swoosh on a shoe and get me to pay $200 for that shoe by making it harder for me to get the same shoe without the swoosh or with a slightly different swoosh for $30.

    TPP is the opposite of free trade. It lowers some tariffs that individual traders are already avoiding anyway, in return for a whole bunch of crap that’s good for nobody except the politically connected corporate plutocrats who bribed the politicians to drum up the treaty.

  71. dL

    Knapp’s preceding analysis was well said. The IP,Labor ,Environment chapters are rife w/ compliance/regulatory framework poison pills. The Electronic Commerce section is so brief, it is impossible to consider it to be nothing more than a placeholder.

    An as Knapp pointed out, we already conduct pretty frictionless trade w/ the signatories. The one sector where the reduced tariffs largely apply, the agricultural sector, is an area where the US could simply take unilateral action on. End the subsidies; end any import duties. Problem solved.

  72. dL

    “However, no one has pointed out such a poison pill in the TPP. There are a number of good and bad items, but nothing so bad that it cannot be outweighed by something positive. This means that you have to read the whole law and then make a value judgement.

    Sure, it’s difficult and takes time, so some people defer to experts. This is risky, but it’s what we do every day in a free market, where we make choices among goods and services about which we all have incomplete information.”

    You do business contractually on unclear terms, you will lose your ass. You simply take a pass. That’s the real world. There is no comparison of that with making consumer choices for goods and services w/ incomplete information. None. Not even close.

    The IP chapter alone disqualifies the entire document from further consideration. Period. There is absolutely no uncertainty about the consequences of that compliance regime in 21st century political economy.

    If a read contract X and it has A,B,C stipulations , and then stipulation D has a chapter on mandatory frontal lobotomy, I put down the contract. There is no point in reading E,F,G,…

  73. langa

    It’s possible for a book written by a crazy person to appear sane and it’s possible for a book written by a sane person to appear crazy.

    This objection to the analogy is merely pedantic. To alter it slightly, do you have to read every page of “Mein Kampf” to know that the book’s general message is garbage?

  74. robert capozzi

    tk quoting LvM: “That this is only possible in very simple conditions is obvious. In the case of more complicated and more lengthy processes of production it will, plainly, not answer.”

    me: Well, “only possible” seems incorrect to me. Say we have 2 lessarchist MCs. Both share the view that rolling back the State is desirable. Despite that, they have different judgments about various pieces of legislation because, in their respective judgments, they don’t often agree on whether Bill A or B present advancements of liberty.

    MC A might take an RP1 view that any legislation that contains anything injurious to liberty should get a No vote. MC B might vote Yes on some legislation because on balance some Bills net out as liberty-enhancing. MC A might feel good about his/her votes, but s/he is generally uninfluential in the legislative process. MC B might become highly influential, often being called on to craft legislation.

    In fine if you prefer MC A to B. I would submit, however, that yours in not the universally correct lessarchist position. It’s simply your position, which is valid FOR YOU.

  75. Thomas Knapp

    “MC A might take an RP1 view that any legislation that contains anything injurious to liberty should get a No vote. MC B might vote Yes on some legislation because on balance some Bills net out as liberty-enhancing.”

    Except that MC B (whatever the hell an MC means in this context) has no way of knowing how bills “net out.”

    He’s just taking a wild-ass guess (one that almost certainly accords with whatever his personal prejudices happen to be) and trying to pass it off as something along the lines of math or science.

    It would be one thing if he ADMITTED he’s basically just throwing darts with a blindfold on as a way of deciding what bills to support. That he’s pretending his “net out” claims have a basis in fact should be an indicator that he’s a witch doctor bullshit artist who shouldn’t be given whatever power it is that he has.

  76. dL

    “Well, “only possible” seems incorrect to me. Say we have 2 lessarchist MCs. Both share the view that rolling back the State is desirable. Despite that, they have different judgments about various pieces of legislation because, in their respective judgments, they don’t often agree on whether Bill A or B present advancements of liberty.’

    Analysis of agreements like TPP has nothing to do w/ categories like “lessarchist” vs “purist.” To try to cast such an analysis in those terms, indeed, to try to cast everything in those terms, is indicative of a vapid anti-intellectualism. And just plain lazy.

  77. robert capozzi

    tk: whatever the hell an MC means in this context)…

    me: Member of Congress = MC

    tk: He’s just taking a wild-ass guess (one that almost certainly accords with whatever his personal prejudices happen to be) and trying to pass it off as something along the lines of math or science.

    me: Some might, but not me. It’s neither math nor science. It’s an assessment, one that is arrived at with both analysis of data and some intuition, some gut feeling, if you will. I believe Hayek called it the special knowledge of time and place.

    Not all trade-offs are quantitative. And not all decisions are guaranteed to work out as planned. Getting in the game requires one getting one’s hands dirty.

    dL: To try to cast such an analysis in those terms, indeed, to try to cast everything in those terms, is indicative of a vapid anti-intellectualism. And just plain lazy.

    me: I’ve been thinking about this all day, and I still have no idea what you mean. Do you mean to suggest that using one’s judgment is somehow “anti-intellectual”? If so, how so?

  78. Thomas Knapp

    “Do you mean to suggest that using one’s judgment is somehow ‘anti-intellectual?'”

    No, he means offering a wild-ass guess (“assessment”) that just happens to correspond 100% with what you feel like doing, and pretending that it’s “arrived at with both analysis of data and some intuition” so that you can try to pass it off as something other than a wild-ass guess that just happens to correspond 100% with what you feel like doing is anti-intellectual.

  79. George Dance

    ““Do you mean to suggest that using one’s judgment is somehow ‘anti-intellectual?’”
    Tom Knapp – “No, he means offering a wild-ass guess (“assessment”) that just happens to correspond 100% with what you feel like doing, and pretending that it’s “arrived at with both analysis of data and some intuition” so that you can try to pass it off as something other than a wild-ass guess that just happens to correspond 100% with what you feel like doing is anti-intellectual.”

    It sounds like you’re saying that it’s impossible to an assessment to be anything more than a “wild-ass guess”. That sounds pretty “anti-intellectual” itself: the very concept of ‘intellectual’ implies that people can learn about a subject, and make more reliable statements about it.

  80. robert capozzi

    thanks, GD. I have a slightly different take, though. I’m not sure I associate “intellectual” with “reliable.” For ex., I would say that Keynesian economists are “intellectual,” but for the most part I would say their thought system is NOT reliable and flawed at its foundation.

    TK seems to have a problem with guessing or something. It strikes me that we are guessing all day long– intellectuals, anti-intellectuals, and non-intellectuals. As we are trained and become experienced, the basics of life seem to work a certain way, but it’s possible that the underlying reasons that things work the way they do might be completely wrong. Yet, the current working paradigms seem serviceable enough, so we buy into our assumptions and go about our day.

    Yet, there’s raging controversies to the point I can no longer keep up. Is coffee good for me, or bad? Two glasses of wine at night, good or bad? I’ve heard both cases.

    Should the Fed raise rates, or no? That gets far more complex, and for me — not deeply studying that matter — I feel it’s perfectly “intellectual” to say: I don’t know, but I know enough to express my assessment that it’s wise to be skeptical about most/all expert opinions, which are probably sub-optimal or worse.

    Is jurisprudence superior to the Napoleanic Code? How can we possibly make that assessment?

    Can we say with CERTAINTY that if the US exits the ME, there will no longer be any terrorist acts in the US? I say we can’t. My assessment, though, is that exiting the ME is a good idea, all things considered. Yes, I am guessing that most terrorism is blowback, but I can’t say that undoing a dysfunctional action — the war in Iraq — will necessarily lead to the end of terrorism!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *