Marc Montoni: ‘Truth Gives You Freedom’

Marc Montoni at freevirginia.blogspot.com:

On November 6, 2018, the Libertarian Party‘s three highest-profile sitting officeholders all lost their bids for re-election.

Many in the Party bemoaned the result as a “disaster”.

I see it differently, because these losses serve as a textbook lesson:


Given the odds against Libertarians in office (we are *usually* out-spent and out-volunteered by 1,000 or more to 1), Libertarian officeholders should stop pussyfooting around and instead be that lone troublemaker while in office.

Say those “scary”, extremist things, like “Taxation is Theft, and I want to eliminate that theft by abolishing this ____ tax!!”

Say those “scary”, extremist things, like “Prohibition is unconstitutional and immoral and I want to repeal all of it, including the prohibition on crack, heroin, gambling, and prostitution!”

Say those “scary”, extremist things, like “Abolish the Police and let neighborhoods contract for the security provider that suits them!”

Say those “scary”, extremist things, like “Abolish Public Schools!”

Say those “scary”, extremist things, like “Abolish the Military!”

We’ve spent forty years twisting ourselves into knots trying to avoid offending our opponents.

It’s long past time to offend the hell out of them.

Our opponents aren’t going to vote for us anyway, and kowtowing to them keeps us from finding and recruiting the millions of people out there who are already basically libertarian but haven’t put it together yet because they haven’t heard anyone saying it in a way that is both consistent and inspires their own courage.

Libertarianism is OFFENSIVE to those who live at the expense of others.  Libertarianism is OFFENSIVE to those who wish to control others.

Full stop.  There is no way to make it inoffensive to them.


Yeah, maybe you won’t get re-elected. But you didn’t get re-elected this time either, did you?

The knowledge that victory is fleeting can sometimes be truly liberating.


Once we understand that our fellow libertarians can’t see us when we keep our heads down, then we’re ready to stand up and let them see us. Once they see us, they will be more likely to join and become members and supporters to help us in next year’s elections.

The Libertarian Party has been banging around between 10,000 to 20,000 annual donors for the better part of its nearly five decades in existence.

That is because too many Libertarians think the way to find our friends is to seek out our enemies.

Let’s change that model.

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Vote Libertarian * 800-ELECT-US * http://www.LP.org
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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, October, 2018.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

160 thoughts on “Marc Montoni: ‘Truth Gives You Freedom’

  1. Robert Rich

    Abolishing the commons police, military, public schools have never been Libertarian positions, and are not anarchist libertarian ones. They may be libertarian applications if done correctly, but under the Dallas protocol we don’t favor any specific application, merely present range of options in a legalized Libertarian process of privatization or voluntarization.

    That process is Libertarians help to privatize them by legalizing self-regulating libertarian private-personal (club) and private-for-public use (‘citizen choice/PfP’ preferably co-op )options, and creating an endowed commons that works efficiently and is neither a coerced oligo/- monopoly nor attempts to regulate the others. Libertarianism doesn’t confuse the commons with the government. Club, commons, co-op. All of this is implicit in the LP SOP Gilson(MG) outlined and Hospers wrote. In his last conference call in around 2009 David Nolan made exactly these points.

    The confusion arises from the need to abolish anti-rights procedures like forced taxation or forced monopolies or anti-democracy. Making something voluntary/privatized is not the same as abolishing or minimizing it or ‘radically’ handing it over to some corporation. Libertarians and public officials are making a lot of progress in that direction. Yet the LP does a terrible job reporting and spreading information on this progress to members and the public, and many libertarian writers still confuse government with law, commons, public, etc. Candidates who do a an’ imperfect to no’ job building up a face-to-face following and explaining the Libertarian-direction privatization that they do successfully do (or proceed without clear support) don’t help themselves. At the very minimum they should follow Gilson’s advice and set up a website detailing their ‘wins’ we can all learn from AND build up a successor. The State LP’s adopted a resolution at the beginning of their association to recommend and see to just that. What happened?

    The best message is pointing out where one has succeeded to supporters, but if one doesn’t or supporters are not reached out to…Many non-libertarians in public office have learned that lesson too late. Ebke did OK in these tasks and almost won, so IMHO should keep at it. The NH guy didn’t seem to build his following or keep pace explaining to his supporters but went off on tangent. As a founder of the NHLP I’m not pleased. I think much of the public is now ahead of the Libertarian Party which keeps talking like it’s 1969.

  2. Robert Rich

    …despite my phasing worries I agree with what Marc is getting at of course, his heart is in the right place and he’s one of the best hard-workers out there.

  3. Fred Stein

    Since its founding the LP had an internal debate which way, educational or election victory. I go with educational. When you compromise with evil, evil wins. We are the only political group in history that does not seek power but to eliminate it. In the educational process we expose more people to our ideas and move the debate. The final goal is to get enough people and money to create our own country somewhere on this planet.

  4. paulie Post author

    Since its founding the LP had an internal debate which way, educational or election victory. I go with educational. When you compromise with evil, evil wins. We are the only political group in history that does not seek power but to eliminate it. In the educational process we expose more people to our ideas and move the debate. The final goal is to get enough people and money to create our own country somewhere on this planet.

    Political parties have a lot of institutional disadvantages over other types of educational organizations. If at least part of your game plan is not actually electing people and getting them in office to change policy, even if it’s only at the local level at first, other kinds of structures are more useful to that purpose.

    I think the LP should be somewhat of a hybrid organization, both libertarian and a political party. Go too far in one direction and you end up being the Reform Party, too far in the other and you end up being the Advocates but without a tax deduction for donors and with trying to catch people in a political space where zero sum game winner take all concerns overwhelm everything and trying to piss up a rope against that.

    So, yeah, there’s tension between the two within the LP’s mission, always was and perhaps always will be. That’s OK, and even if it wasn’t, I don’t see a way to change that effectively in the foreseeable future.

  5. Anthony Dlugos

    “Our opponents aren’t going to vote for us anyway, and kowtowing to them keeps us from finding and recruiting the millions of people out there who are already basically libertarian but haven’t put it together yet because they haven’t heard anyone saying it in a way that is both consistent and inspires their own courage.”

    A) If Marc thinks there are millions of people willing to support his “ABOLISH EVERYTHING” set of public policy prescriptions, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him. There are no more than maybe a hundred thousand who believe that AND want to press for it within a political party, and they are already voting LP. Even fewer, certainly less than 50,000, are willing to spend their own time/money working in a political party who advocates as such.

    In point of fact, all data contradicts Marc’s policy ideas. Actually, Abolish Public Schools! and Abolish the Military! are so significantly outside mainstream opinion, no polling organization now or ever has even bothered to ask about them. I can assure you such a reality would have been discovered by now, if there was any support whatsoever for these positions. There isn’t even enough support to abolish the DEPARTMENT of education, let alone public schools themselves.

    B) Far be it from me to point out that the least dogmatically libertarian candidate the LP has ever run, Governor Johnson, received more votes in 2016 alone than the rest of the Libertarian presidential candidates combined (and that includes Barr), I will grant Marc one point;

    Here:

    “Our opponents aren’t going to vote for us anyway, and kowtowing to them keeps us from finding and recruiting the millions of people out there who are already basically libertarian but haven’t put it together yet because they haven’t heard anyone saying it in a way that is both consistent and inspires their own courage.”

    and here:

    “Once we understand that our fellow libertarians can’t see us when we keep our heads down, then we’re ready to stand up and let them see us. Once they see us, they will be more likely to join and become members and supporters to help us in next year’s elections.

    The Libertarian Party has been banging around between 10,000 to 20,000 annual donors for the better part of its nearly five decades in existence.”

    Marc implicitly concedes that, in the arena of electoral politics, votes (and money) matter, both in intraparty and interparty contests.

    All he and his radical brethren have to do is go find such people.

    But at least now we can dispense with this “we’re the real Libertarians” flubdub. What matters is who has the votes.

  6. robert capozzi

    mm: It’s long past time to offend the hell out of them.

    me: I do agree that “truth gives you freedom,” and, in truth, I don’t see the point in offending people, much less the hell out of them. To what end?

    We can’t tell from MM’s essay. Maybe to wake them up? If so, I’d say the ranks of nonarchists are not growing, so most might consider a different approach.

    It HAS woken some to go in the other direction, to see the fatal flaws in NAPist nonarchism.

  7. Nathan Larson

    It could also be that statism no longer seems to people like the biggest threat out there. Libertarians have to engage with the zeitgeist and show how our ideas are relevant to the issues of the day. Instead, the Libertarian establishment chose to align with the SJWs against the alt-right, rather than explaining how libertarianism can offer a third and better way.

  8. paulie Post author

    What’s there to elaborate? The alt reich represents all that is wrong and evil and lining up against it as strongly as possible, short of outright initiation of force, is just the right thing to do.

  9. robert capozzi

    It’s the “align” part that I find questionable. It’s one thing to distance ourselves from the alt-right, another to link arms with the SJWs, pf.

  10. Anthony Dlugos

    Anyone who thinks the “Libertarian establishment” is already too aligned with “SJWs” already was never gonna be a reliable ally anyway.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind some concessions to the use of “force” in the platform and messaging in order to smoke the rest of the lowlifes out.

  11. Jim

    paulie “What definition of social justice are you using? Mine does not involve initiation of force.”

    It doesn’t have to involve the use of force, but it often does. I consider antifa as a branch of SJWs and they certainly use force. I categorize the SJWs of today as the decedents of the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s, which had peaceful anti-war protests, but they also had violent splinter groups like the weathermen. And all of that, I think, started with Herbert Marcuse’s work in the 1950s. Marcuse was a communist who wanted to shift communist efforts away from rallying workers toward rallying the marginalized in society. So there have been a lot of communists embedded in the cultural left for a long time.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t reach out to those people, but I would avoid using the term SJW.

  12. paulie Post author

    Anyone who thinks the “Libertarian establishment” is already too aligned with “SJWs” already was never gonna be a reliable ally anyway.

    Agreed.

  13. paulie Post author

    It doesn’t have to involve the use of force, but it often does.

    People pursuing good purposes that we would agree with often get diverted into using means that that we as libertarians don’t agree with. That doesn’t mean we should allow or help along the twisting of the language which confuses the goals they seek with the methods some people use to seek those goals but which are not inherent to the goals themselves.

    I consider antifa as a branch of SJWs and they certainly use force.

    As with SJW, there’s nothing inherent to the concept of antifa(scism) that implies use of any methods that involve initiation of force, so I have no problem self-identifying as antifa and SJW.

    I categorize the SJWs of today as the decedents of the New Left of the 1960s and 1970s, which had peaceful anti-war protests, but they also had violent splinter groups like the weathermen. And all of that, I think, started with Herbert Marcuse’s work in the 1950s. Marcuse was a communist who wanted to shift communist efforts away from rallying workers toward rallying the marginalized in society. So there have been a lot of communists embedded in the cultural left for a long time.

    Yes, all that is true. There have also been a lot of libertarians embedded in the cultural left for a long time as well – Karl Hess, Timothy Leary, and many others. Rothbard was at his best during the phase when he tried to ally with the New Left and at his worst when he tried to ally with the paleolithic far right leading to the partial birth aborted monstrosity known as the alt right or better known as the alt reich.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t reach out to those people, but I would avoid using the term SJW.

    I’d rather reclaim it. There’s nothing inherent in the concept of social justice which means we should abandon it to the Marxists to keep claiming that they are the only ones who care about social justice or that libertarians don’t.

  14. Jim

    paulie “I’d rather reclaim it. There’s nothing inherent in the concept of social justice which means we should abandon it to the Marxists to keep claiming that they are the only ones who care about social justice or that libertarians don’t.”

    Unlike Liberal, I don’t think we ever really owned that one. Much better to coin a new term and own it fully.

  15. dL

    Anyone who thinks the “Libertarian establishment” is already too aligned with “SJWs” already was never gonna be a reliable ally anyway.

    Well, I agree with Dlugos. Rarity!

  16. dL

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t reach out to those people, but I would avoid using the term SJW.

    No one refers to oneself as a SJW. It’s a conservative slur for victim-identity whining. Of course, conservatives are the biggest culprits when it comes to that.

  17. dL

    And all of that, I think, started with Herbert Marcuse’s work in the 1950s. Marcuse was a communist who wanted to shift communist efforts away from rallying workers toward rallying the marginalized in society. So there have been a lot of communists embedded in the cultural left for a long time.

    I would point out Marx had no theory of justice, and contrary to common perception, he didn’t actually view capitalist exploitation as unjust. And he certainly railed against socialist fantasies of justice replacing his materialistic-based social science. Marx would not look kindly at the likes of Marcuse in the same way someone like Bastiat wouldn’t look too kindly at the likes of Hans Hoppe(btw, a Frankfurt school educated protege of Jürgen Habermas).

    Critical theory may have some insight as a social science analytical tool, but it goes off the rails when it broaches the territory of moral judgements.

    Unlike Liberal, I don’t think we ever really owned that one. Much better to coin a new term and own it fully.

    Justice is the absence of injustice. Competition is merely the absence of oppression. The notion of social justice, particularly as it relates to distributive justice, is foreign to libertarianism. Efforts like “Bleeding Heart Libertarians” that try to relate markets to social justice are misguided. Markets are an instrument of human agency, not justice, sans the justice of mutual advantage. However, libertarianism very much is concerned with social injustice. Bastiat, in Economic Sophisms, wrote the only practical use of economics is the identification of plunder. A social system in harmony would have no need for economics. So, if we actually had a free market(i.e, a harmonious system of the justice of mutual advantage), then all those libertarian think tanks would be out of business.

  18. dL

    They’re social injustice warriors. Well, keyboard warriors in most cases.

    No, they are not interested in social injustice other than to perpetuate it by means of an apartheid state…

  19. dL

    so I have no problem self-identifying as antifa and SJW.

    Antifa(anti-fascist) has been around in one form or the other since the 1930s. I’m of the opinion that if antifa begins to seep into the broad popular awareness, then you probably have a fascism problem.

  20. William t. Forrest

    Alt right is interested in social injustice by whatever means whether state or private, it’s just how they get their jollies as an intentionally reactionary movement. Not just racial but sex, gender, and so on. Some of them even claim to be anarchists . Mainly they like to piss off the left and any group the left as they define it seeks social justice for.

  21. William t. Forrest

    Sjw did not start out as a pejorative. Right wingers have turned it into one just as they did with liberal and antifa etc. The idea of social justice is not an inherently libertarian or unlibertarian one but libertarianism which ignores social justice easily slips and slides into reactionary alt right mode. Alt right on the other hand is in fact inherently libertarian because they share fascist love of violence and domination for its own sake. It’s why even alt rightists who start out as libertarian such as peinovich, cantwell and Richard Spencer don’t stay that way. Their racist and other reactionary social goals soon trump libertarian concerns about means and they go full fash .

  22. William t. Forrest

    I guess that slide does happen on the left too, a few of the libertarian socialist caucus have now become full blown tankies but the helicopter buzz among the “libertarian right” is much stronger. When they get called out on that they usually play it off like they are joking but in reality I don’t think they are. They really do fantasize about fascism and murder.

  23. Anthony Dlugos

    Anyone who thinks the “Libertarian establishment” is already too aligned with “SJWs” already was never gonna be a reliable ally anyway.

    Well, I agree with Dlugos. Rarity!

    As I suggested, it would be quite easy for the LP to smoke these lowlifes out, if the party just decided to relent on some of its dogmatism. If you want to call it NAPism, or merely a tendency to start all our policy ideas with, “Get the government out of X,” all we are doing in the world of retail politics (as opposed to the theoretical) is inadvertently running interference for conservatives, and more unsavory characters.

    Why wouldn’t any alt-reicher think, “hey, those are my kind of people” if we demonstrate that an “aggrieved” baker in Colorado who doesn’t want to bake a cake for an icky gay couple automatically moves to the top of our list of issues due to our inability to prioritize? All they have to do is present us with a theoretical situation that leverages our desire to adhere to freedom of association principles. Merely equivocating is enough to ensure we’re surrounded by plenty of alt-reichers.

    There are limitless ways the party’s platform and messaging can demonstrate a commitment to reducing the size and scope of government without forgetting who has benefited and who has suffered from past government policies.

    And if that means a christian baker is gonna be “forced” to bake a cake for a gay couple, then that’s what it means.

    We’ll quickly find out who is focused on the most important stuff.

  24. dL

    The idea of social justice is not an inherently libertarian or unlibertarian one but libertarianism which ignores social justice easily slips and slides into reactionary alt right mode.

    There is an argument that social injustice is the exclusive concern of libertarianism. However, there is a distinction between social injustice and social justice. Social justice(i.e., distributive justice) itself is largely foreign to libertarianism. Attempts to marry markets to social justice are wrong headed. You end up with prosperity or economic growth==social justice, which is bullshit. Concentration camps, departments of state security, perpetual war, etc, ah, who cares, the economic growth rate is X.XX%. Never been freer!

  25. paulie Post author

    Social justice(i.e., distributive justice) itself is largely foreign to libertarianism.

    On the contrary, I think that’s exactly the natural outcome of libertarian policies.

    Concentration camps, departments of state security, perpetual war, etc, ah, who cares, the economic growth rate is X.XX%.

    I see peace and civil liberties as integral part of my idea of social justice. I don’t think prosperity or social justice can survive sustainably without them.

  26. dL

    I don’t necessarily favor stand your ground laws, I don’t hate liberal democracy, I don’t oppose abortion, I don’t have Clinton derangement syndrome, I can give a rat’s ass about Brexit, and anti-discrimination laws are way down on my priority list

  27. paulie Post author

    I’m of the opinion that if antifa begins to seep into the broad popular awareness, then you probably have a fascism problem.

    Agreed.

  28. paulie Post author

    No one refers to oneself as a SJW.

    I do.

    It’s a conservative slur for victim-identity whining.

    Conservatives and alt reich slime have largely turned it into one, but I am not ceding it.

    Of course, conservatives are the biggest culprits when it comes to that.

    Yep!

  29. paulie Post author

    paulie “I’d rather reclaim it. There’s nothing inherent in the concept of social justice which means we should abandon it to the Marxists to keep claiming that they are the only ones who care about social justice or that libertarians don’t.”

    Unlike Liberal, I don’t think we ever really owned that one. Much better to coin a new term and own it fully.

    Like liberal, it once embraced concepts shared by both (some) libertarians and (some) leftists. And like liberal it has been pejorativized by reich wingers and largely abandoned by progressives.

    Progressives claim that their authoritarian means will achieve liberal goals and social justice, but evidence shows otherwise. Conservatives and reactionary right wing authoritarians also like to conflate liberalism, social justice and progressivism and deride all of these. I seek to (re)decouple liberalism and social justice from authoritarian progressivism and state “socialism”, democratic or otherwise.

  30. dL

    On the contrary, I think that’s exactly the natural outcome of libertarian policies.

    Why would equality of outcome be expected in libertarian society? If you are born 7 feet tall and earn a large annual salary playing professional basketball, is that unjust? If you were born black, 7 feet tall and prevented from earning a living playing pro basketball b/c of your race, would that be unjust? No to the former, yes to the latter.

  31. paulie Post author

    I’d say the ranks of nonarchists are not growing

    There are way, way more than the LP has ever effectively gotten involved. Politics is more about relentless – at first tiny and radical – minorities getting well organized than it is about majorities.

  32. paulie Post author

    If Marc thinks there are millions of people willing to support his “ABOLISH EVERYTHING” set of public policy prescriptions, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him. There are no more than maybe a hundred thousand who believe that AND want to press for it within a political party, and they are already voting LP. Even fewer, certainly less than 50,000, are willing to spend their own time/money working in a political party who advocates as such.

    How do you know? The LP is just now (at least in the 25 years that I have observed) making a very basic bare start on real grassroots door to door, phonebanking and such organizing. We have a long way to go.

  33. paulie Post author

    In point of fact, all data contradicts Marc’s policy ideas. Actually, Abolish Public Schools! and Abolish the Military! are so significantly outside mainstream opinion, no polling organization now or ever has even bothered to ask about them. I can assure you such a reality would have been discovered by now, if there was any support whatsoever for these positions. There isn’t even enough support to abolish the DEPARTMENT of education, let alone public schools themselves.

    Ideas which are now bipartisan consensus started out as radical, extremist views at one time and in many cases stayed that way for a long time.

  34. paulie Post author

    Marc implicitly concedes that, in the arena of electoral politics, votes (and money) matter, both in intraparty and interparty contests.

    All he and his radical brethren have to do is go find such people.

    But at least now we can dispense with this “we’re the real Libertarians” flubdub. What matters is who has the votes.

    Both votes and ideas matter. Votes without ideas? Might as well be Demopublicans or the Reform Party. Ideas without votes, and without on the ground precinct organization, phonebanking, get out the vote, data? May as well be the Advocates or the early 21st century BTP (RIP).

  35. paulie Post author

    Why would equality of outcome be expected in libertarian society?

    Absolute equality? No. Relative to more authoritarian regimes? Yes. And equality of opportunity is more like my idea of social justice than equality of outcome.

  36. paulie Post author

    I don’t necessarily favor stand your ground laws,

    I do.

    I don’t hate liberal democracy,

    I don’t either. As long it’s limited by constitutional and civil liberties limits it’s better than a lot of alternatives. But it does present the problem of those limits eroding and the cascading free rider problem.

    I don’t oppose abortion,

    Well, I once convinced a girlfriend to have one, and she hated me for doing that and herself for following through with it. So I am ambivalent about it. But I don’t think the government needs to be “solving” it.

    I don’t have Clinton derangement syndrome,

    I don’t think I do either, but the Clintons are shady and corrupt.

    I can give a rat’s ass about Brexit,

    I don’t give much of a crap about it either.

    and anti-discrimination laws are way down on my priority list

    Same here.

  37. dL

    And equality of opportunity is more like my idea of social justice than equality of outcome.

    Equality of opportunity is not distributive justice. Social justice is usually thought of in terms of distributive justice. Libertarianism is silent on what is a just distribution of goods, but it is not silent on what is an unjust distribution, namely that distribution secured by monopoly or special privileges.

    Liberalism and distributive justice is John Rawls. Rawls had a stronger position than mere “equality of opportunity. EoO is something like A,B are judged on their merits alone. Rawls’ position, Fair Equality of Opportunity, is A&B, each equally predisposed, have an equal chance of success, notwithstanding any circumstantial luck advantages A may have over B(e.g, A is born into a wealthy family, B a poor one). So, FEO would require quite a bit of government subsidy(particularly in education) to offset advantages in luck and circumstance.

    Libertarianism and distributive justice is “bleeding heart libertarianism,” which holds libertarian institutions depend in part for their moral justification on the extent it can be shown they serve the interests of the poor. But in practice this turns out to be little more than “a rising tide lifts all boats” draped in Rawlsian drag.

  38. dL

    I do

    Well, I don’t a favor a duty to retreat, but neither do I favor cart blanche license for shooting people under a pretext of self-defense.

    As long it’s limited by constitutional and civil liberties limits it’s better than a lot of alternatives.

    That is the (ostensible) definition of liberal democracy

  39. Anthony Dlugos

    me: If Marc thinks there are millions of people willing to support his “ABOLISH EVERYTHING” set of public policy prescriptions, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him. There are no more than maybe a hundred thousand who believe that AND want to press for it within a political party, and they are already voting LP. Even fewer, certainly less than 50,000, are willing to spend their own time/money working in a political party who advocates as such.

    paulie: How do you know? The LP is just now (at least in the 25 years that I have observed) making a very basic bare start on real grassroots door to door, phonebanking and such organizing. We have a long way to go.

    As I noted, paulie, support for extreme policy positions would have shown up in some way in polling and election results, as well as such things as significant public support for, say, republican efforts to “abolish Department X and Department Y.”

    The stuff Marc is talking about is so fringe, no one even bothers polling about it. The idea that it exists in great proportion in the general population than it exists in the LP strains credulity.

    But, as I said, if someone in the LP thinks there is a hidden mass of support for a general policy disposition of radical, monumental change…whether abrupt or gradual…by all means, go and find it. I hope they do!

    In the meantime, if the Radical Caucus position is, “trust us, such support is out there,” then I’m going to demand proof. And if said set of radical, monumental changes ends in a 7% showing for a Radical candidate at the 2020 Convention, I’m gonna call that dispositive. Again,

  40. robert capozzi

    AD,

    You don’t get it. If only the masses were to read 10 Long essays, there”d widespread conversions to abolitionist NAPism. ?

  41. Anthony Dlugos

    RC,

    I’ll say this: I meet one a month with a group of atheists/agnostics here in the Cleveland area, last night at a wing/burger place.

    Discussion topics regularly revolve around politics. Unsurprisingly, this is a room full of Democrats and Progressives.

    Ten years ago, I would have horrified them.

    Five years ago, they would have dismissed me out of hand.

    Last night, I argued a UBI is an idea that should seriously be considered as a replacement for the current welfare bureaucracy (and as a tonic for rapid technological change). I argued that the problem of mass shootings could better be solved by some kind of licensing and focus on identification of risk factors for mental breaks with reality that lead to these acts rather than prohibition/confiscation laws, (because enforcement thereof ends up hurting the wrong people), I argued that taxes and regulations need to get back to simple and uniform, and that while I would like to see more free market approaches to the health care issue, I am opposed to any change that targets the least advantage first or hits them worse.

    I see nothing wrong with any of this from a libertarian perspective.

    As you might expect, I got a lot of agreement.

    I guess I could have argued that “shall not be infringed” means exactly that, equivocated when was asked about bazookas, whilst pointing out that governments kill a lot more people, so let’s focus on getting weapons out of the hands of the real criminals!!!

    Methinks that would have gone over like a lead balloon.

  42. paulie Post author

    Equality of opportunity is not distributive justice.

    It’s intertwined, because in many ways direct and indirect the current unequal opportunity leads to more unequal outcomes.

    Social justice is usually thought of in terms of distributive justice. Libertarianism is silent on what is a just distribution of goods, but it is not silent on what is an unjust distribution, namely that distribution secured by monopoly or special privileges.

    Which currently leads to more inequality. Greater equality of opportunity, fewer barriers to entry and advancement, fewer protectionist measures which preserve the relative advantage of accumulated wealth and allow it to accumulate further in fewer hands leading to more inequality over time – it all works together.

    A may have over B(e.g, A is born into a wealthy family, B a poor one). So, FEO would require quite a bit of government subsidy(particularly in education) to offset advantages in luck and circumstance.

    No, it would actually be more helpful to get government from impeding B from rising up and competing with A.

  43. paulie Post author

    Well, I don’t a favor a duty to retreat, but neither do I favor cart blanche license for shooting people under a pretext of self-defense.

    Stand your ground is not cart blanche to shoot under a pretext of defense. It’s that you don’t have an affirmative duty to flee rather than defend yourself.

    That is the (ostensible) definition of liberal democracy

    Granted, which is why I included the caveats I did with my previous response.

  44. paulie Post author

    As I noted, paulie, support for extreme policy positions would have shown up in some way in polling and election results, as well as such things as significant public support for, say, republican efforts to “abolish Department X and Department Y.”

    Support for many currently popular and even mainstream consensus supported policies was at one point fringe. Moving them from the fringe to mainstream was a long and difficult process that involved a lot of determined and relentless organization and in which alt parties played significant roles.

    But, as I said, if someone in the LP thinks there is a hidden mass of support for a general policy disposition of radical, monumental change…whether abrupt or gradual…by all means, go and find it. I hope they do!

    Cool, we agree.

  45. Anthony Dlugos

    “Cool, we agree.”

    There is no doubt about that.

    I’ve always argued the one thing all Libertarian Party members must agree on is that the most important thing is winning elective office. All other consideration secondary (which doesn’t mean unimportant).

    Other than that, if you manage to find radicals with the chops to gain public support, kudos. You can be sure I’ll be on that bandwagon.

  46. robert capozzi

    AD: I see nothing wrong with any of this from a libertarian perspective.

    Me: Me neither! NAPists might.

    To add to your list of “heresies,” I’d support shifting taxes to pollution taxes. I happened to watch REASON’s recent webathon, and Peter Suderman was talking along the lines of replacing payroll taxes with “carbon” taxes, which has some appeal to me.

    Many NAPists, of course, think pollut-ees should sue polluters, which I find to be a completely unworkable concept on many levels.

    I wonder what percentage of the L universe might be considered center-left L? It may not be sexy or “inspiring,” but I suspect the sensibly inclined may be moving in that direction.

  47. paulie Post author

    Even moderate libertarianism is radical by comparison to the duopoly mainstream. But we can’t just expect people to come to us. If we are not actively recruiting we die.

  48. Anthony Dlugos

    “To add to your list of “heresies,” I’d support shifting taxes to pollution taxes. I happened to watch REASON’s recent webathon, and Peter Suderman was talking along the lines of replacing payroll taxes with “carbon” taxes, which has some appeal to me.”

    I love that idea as well. I think I saw a proposal at Cato to replace income taxes 1 for 1 with a carbon tax. That has great potential, IMHO.

  49. robert capozzi

    pf: Even moderate libertarianism is radical by comparison to the duopoly mainstream. But we can’t just expect people to come to us. If we are not actively recruiting we die.

    Me: Largely agreed, although “die” seems overstated. Unfortunately, the NAPism — backed up by the depth charges — tends to drive off we moderates. We will always be second-class Ls in the LP.

  50. Jim

    There have been some polls of extremist positions, although some arguably aren’t good polls.

    Here’s a poll from 2018 that asks “Do you think we should have basically open borders or do you think we need secure borders?”

    Surprisingly, 24% answered open borders. 25% of that 24% (6% overall) reported voting for a 3rd party presidential candidate in 2016.

    http://harvardharrispoll.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Final_HHP_Jun2018_RegisteredVoters_Crosstabs_Memo.pdf

    Here’s a poll from 2014 that asked about legalizing harder drugs, like heroin and crack. Support for legalizing hard drugs has about 9% support. But, when asked about what the punishment should be, 57% say there should be no prison time (28% said there should be prison, 14% were undecided.) No prison time included a range of options including no punishment at all, a fine, probation, and court ordered treatment.

    http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/wfc6u1kggp/tabs_HP_drug_penalties_20131125.pdf

    Support for extremist positions might have more support than is generally believed, although not nearly enough to win elections. But, it is possible to craft a libertarian message that is agreeable to an outright majority of voters (“People should not be imprisoned for victimless crimes.”)

    But, we’re still operating in a FPTP voting system. So even if a majority of people agree with us, that doesn’t mean they will vote for us.

  51. Jim

    dL “Social justice is usually thought of in terms of distributive justice. Libertarianism is silent on what is a just distribution of goods, but it is not silent on what is an unjust distribution, namely that distribution secured by monopoly or special privileges.”

    Are you using Social Justice / Social Justice Advocates (Warriors) as only concerned with economics? I include social interactions as well. All the “microaggressions”, “trigger warnings”, and “progressive stack” nonsense they’re always going on about.

  52. dL

    Support for extremist positions might have more support than is generally believed, although not nearly enough to win elections. But, it is possible to craft a libertarian message that is agreeable to an outright majority of voters (“People should not be imprisoned for victimless crimes.”)

    Well, in 3rd party politics, you don’t need to win a majority, just a 1/3. And it is more about money, organization, personality than making sure 33%+ agree with you on every position.

  53. dL

    I love that idea as well. I think I saw a proposal at Cato to replace income taxes 1 for 1 with a carbon tax. That has great potential, IMHO.

    So a regressive tax that hits the poor and barely making ends meet folk the most? A “carbon tax” is another name for consumption tax

  54. dL

    Are you using Social Justice / Social Justice Advocates (Warriors) as only concerned with economics? I include social interactions as well. All the “microaggressions”, “trigger warnings”, and “progressive stack” nonsense they’re always going on about.

    I’m using the textbook definition of social justice. “Microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” are the urban dictionary definitions of social justice warrior. So-called SJW fixations are not limited to progressives. Conservatism is underlain by its own set of grievances. The difference is that “the left’s” microaggressions(i.e, derogatory slights with respect to race or gender) are largely relegated to academia, whereby the right’s microaggressions(derogatory slights with respect to traditional forms of authority) make their way to the legislatures.

    Personally, I find microaggressions, trigger warnings, etc to be part and parcel for any sufficiently advanced unjust society. Not as a corrective fix but rather as a distractive cover. It’s not that surprising that the political and academic classed are preoccupied with microaggressions when you have perpetual war, mass imprisonment, mass deportations, and concentrated economic special privileges.

  55. Jim

    dL “I’m using the textbook definition of social justice. “Microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” are the urban dictionary definitions of social justice warrior.

    It isn’t limited to the urban dictionary. The wikipedia article mentions distribution of wealth in its definition of social justice, but it also includes “social privilege”. And the social privilege article gets into microaggressions and says “privilege can also be emotional or psychological, regarding comfort and personal self-confidence”, which is just a polite way of saying “trigger warnings”.

    dL “So-called SJW fixations are not limited to progressives. Conservatism is underlain by its own set of grievances.

    There are cultural progressives on the right. They call themselves social conservatives, but they’re progressives, nonetheless.

  56. Jim

    Not using wikipedia’s definition.

    “a reactionary is a person who holds political views that favor a return to the status quo ante, the previous political state of society, which he or she believes possessed characteristics (discipline, respect for authority, etc.) that are negatively absent from the contemporary status quo of a society.”

    They don’t support a return to the previous status quo, they want to ban new things. Social conservatives are just an outgrowth of the Prohibition Party, which was recognized as progressive back in the day.

  57. dL

    The wikipedia article mentions distribution of wealth in its definition of social justice, but it also includes “social privilege”.

    The Wikipedia entry is not the dictionary definition. “Social privilege” usually falls under a separate discipline called “Privilege theory.” Personally, I think the two greatest human privileges are youth and health, and it is a bit absurd for americans to babbling about “check your privilege” when the english language has a global monopoly on science, technology and commerce.

  58. Jim

    dL “The Wikipedia entry is not the dictionary definition.”

    Wikipedia isn’t the urban dictionary.

  59. paulie Post author

    Since we’re commenting on Marc’s article I felt the urge to mention I started a discussion with Marc on FB earlier today where he was defending Arvin’s recent ugly statements about sterilizing welfare recipients, bringing the alt reich, “mens rights” angry incels and trumptardtarians back to the LP, etc. I let that discussion go because I was busy with LNC liveblogging and was going to get back to it now but can’t find it; possibly the person who made the post we were commenting on took it down. In any case, Marc, if you check in here and want to reprise your comments I can reply to them here.

  60. Jim

    paulie “Pretty sure they do want to go backwards, as in “make America great again“.”

    Despite his obvious sporadic pandering to them, Trump is a paleoconservative, not a social conservative. Paleoconservatives are nationalists. Social conservatives are a form of progressive. Both have authoritarian tendencies.

    Social conservative’s only claim to conservatism is that their ideology is founded on a certain older type of progressivism. But those progressives (prohibitionists) weren’t trying to go backward. They were doing what all progressives do: they see a problem in society which they have no faith can be solved by free people and free markets and so they want the government to remedy that problem. The societal problem which social conservatives and their prohibitionist predecessors want the government to fix is that society isn’t sufficiently adhering to their interpretation of Christian morality. It doesn’t matter to them if the US had sufficient Christian morality in the past or not (although if they think it helps their argument, they’ll latch onto that.) What they want is that morality imposed going forward.

    Nationalism is the dividing of the world into in-groups and out-groups and the granting to the in-group the highest level of privileges in society. That also is not directly related to “going backwards”, although history might be used to determine who is the in-group and who is the out-group.

  61. paulie

    Despite his obvious sporadic pandering to them, Trump is a paleoconservative, not a social conservative. Paleoconservatives are nationalists. Social conservatives are a form of progressive. Both have authoritarian tendencies.

    There’s a lot of overlap. They want to go back to an idealized past where sex and gender roles were less confusing to them, race and ethnicity was largely limited to whites and blacks (Latinos and Natives in a few places, but not many others), straight white male Christians were at the top of the heap and safe in that position as was commonly understood by all, and menial jobs that didn’t require education came with decent pay and job security and not much competition from immigrants. They’re not happy with how other cultures like Middle Eastern and Central American and subcontinent Indian and East Asian are all over the place now or how LGBT folks and pot smokers are out of the closet, how atheism and Islam and Hinduism and so on are more common, and other changes in culture they haven’t adjusted to. So they want to turn the clock back, even when that means banning things that didn’t even exist at all back then.

    Social conservative’s only claim to conservatism is that their ideology is founded on a certain older type of progressivism.

    They’re reacting to racial barriers coming down, non-white immigration, changing sex and gender roles, LGBT out of the closet, women having more career and sexual choices, “indecency” in music, movies and entertainment, the spread of other religions and secularism, job loss they attribute to immigration and trade but which is at least as likely to be due to mechanization and automation, etc, etc.

    Not all of them share all these traits but there’s a lot of overlap and alliances there.

  62. Jim

    They are more distinct than what you are describing. Immigration and racial issues, for example, are not core social conservative issues in the way that they can be for nationalists. Social conservatives are concerned with moral behavior (from their POV), not social pecking order or job security.

    Social Conservatives aren’t reacting to anything. Like Liberals and Socialists, Social Conservatives have an ideology that isn’t dependent on reacting to the outside world. Social Conservatives can write down their ideology and political positions. They are pro-life on the issue of abortion. They are opposed to legal prostitution. It doesn’t matter what the outside world does in the future or did in the past. They are always pro-life on abortion and opposed to legalizing prostitution. From their point of view, social Progress is eradicating abortion and prostitution.

    Nationalism can be based on a variety of characteristics – race, religion, place of birth, etc. A particular branch of nationalism also has a defined ideology and political positions. Nationalism based on race is always going to support one race in a superior position over all others. Nationalism based on place of birth is always going to be anti-immigrant. They don’t have to react to anything. That’s their position regardless of any success, or even effort, at reform. In a society founded with open borders, a nationalist who wants to end free immigration is not trying to return to any previous status quo. They are not reacting in opposition to reformist efforts. They are the reformers.

  63. paulie Post author

    Immigration and racial issues, for example, are not core social conservative issues in the way that they can be for nationalists. Social conservatives are concerned with moral behavior (from their POV), not social pecking order or job security.

    As far as their outward justifications yes, but I think for most of them the reason why they care so much about other people’s sexual morality, drug use, etc is because it’s a proxy for preserving a social pecking order. That’s why the chief organizing issue for what morphed into the moral majority/Christian right was initially opposition to school desegregation and only later on in the 1970s became abortion. It’s why so many of them have no trouble at all transitioning their support to Trump despite his own rather obvious crudeness and lack of morality. And so on.

    They are pro-life on the issue of abortion. They are opposed to legal prostitution.

    Yes, but you also have to ask yourself why they care so much about those particular issues. Often it’s not for the reasons they claim, or even admit to themselves.

    It doesn’t matter what the outside world does in the future or did in the past.

    I don’t think you are correct. For the vast majority of them it absolutely does.

    I think you are creating artificial lines of delineation between social conservatives, reactionaries and nationalists that don’t usually exist in practice. In most cases they are the same people and their reasons for being one whether stated or admitted or not bleed over into their reasons for being the other.

  64. Anthony Dlugos

    me: I love that idea as well. I think I saw a proposal at Cato to replace income taxes 1 for 1 with a carbon tax. That has great potential, IMHO.

    dL: So a regressive tax that hits the poor and barely making ends meet folk the most? A “carbon tax” is another name for consumption tax.

    Good point. Almost certainly would need to add some sort of exemption for, say, the first $50K in earnings or something.

    Now, of course, I suspect you (or someone, coming from some political angle, representing some faction) would have some sort of response as to why $50K is not a good exemption amount.

    Whatever the response is would engender responses from others representing other factions.

    This is how the sausage of legislation gets made.

    Libertarians in Congress would hopefully help usher such legislation through Congress. Ideally speaking, the result would be something better than what we have now, although far short of perfect.

    But perfect is not an option in the arena of electoral politics.

    I tell you what doesn’t work in this arena: a response of “taxation is theft” to a proposal for replacing the income tax (or some portion thereof) with a carbon tax.

    For obvious reasons. Such a positions permanently sidelines the politician/party making such an argument.

    NAPism is not a governing philosophy. In fact, its the opposite: its for people who wish to reject governing altogether.

    Which is fine. Just don’t go joining a political party.

  65. paulie Post author

    Ideally speaking, the result would be something better than what we have now

    That’s only ideally speaking, not realistically. Realistically, it’s a lot harder to get rid of an existing tax (much less keep it from coming back) than to introduce a new one, so we should never, ever push for introducing any new tax that does not already exist. While a reduction of tax rates down to zero is probably a long way off, at least stick to the taxes that already exist, and trying to reduce them over time.

  66. Anthony Dlugos

    “While a reduction of tax rates down to zero is probably a long way off,…”

    It’s more than a long way off. Its outside the jurisdiction of electoral politics, especially when the explicit justification is “taxation is theft,” or some other derivation of the NAP.

    The activist teetotaler does not have the same mission as the employee of the distillery who works to ensure there are avenues for problem drinkers to get help, or options for drinkers to get home without driving.

    Its ultimately just a coincidence that the teetotaler and the distillery employee would like to see either of those issued addressed.

    “…at least stick to the taxes that already exist, and trying to reduce them over time.”

    In exchange for what? Why would anyone who’s not a “taxation is theft” NAPist agree to any reduction in taxes when the professed endpoint of the NAPist no taxes whatsoever?

  67. paulie Post author

    Endpoints are irrelevant in pragmatic politics. Pragmatic politics is directional. The practical political application of libertarianism, whether the goal is zero taxation or just less taxation than now, is to push for less taxation than now – and do NOT get fooled into supporting any scheme for increasing any tax as a trade-off for another or *especially* instituting any new tax. There’s a long practical history of experience that shows that whatever taxes are supposed to be reduced or eliminated as a supposed trade-off do not actually get reduced or eliminated, and even when they do they tend to come back. So if you want to talk pragmatically, here we are, I’m talking pragmatically.

  68. dL

    Last night, I argued a UBI is an idea that should seriously be considered as a replacement for the current welfare bureaucracy (and as a tonic for rapid technological change).

    Talk about “outside the jurisdiction of electoral politics”. Good luck with that. You would have an easier time abolishing the DEA and CIA than getting rid of SS,Medicare, medicaid, etc in order to fund some UBI scheme.

  69. Anthony Dlugos

    “Endpoints are irrelevant in pragmatic politics. ”

    Boy, I disagree there. Surely the voters will care..,.and want to know…if your plan to means test social security is an effort to save the program, or end it.

    Indeed, the whole point of the o.p. here is not to hide such a radical position as ending social security now.

    “There’s a long practical history of experience that shows that whatever taxes are supposed to be reduced or eliminated as a supposed trade-off do not actually get reduced or eliminated, and even when they do they tend to come back. So if you want to talk pragmatically, here we are, I’m talking pragmatically.”

    You can certainly read the evidence that way. I don’t.

    My only question to such a person is: why participate in electoral politics at all then?

    A radical/NAPist CAN be pragmatic.

    But I would think the pragmatic decision they would make (based on their worldview) is to withdraw from politics altogether.

  70. paulie Post author

    I can discuss politics pragmatically. I can and do engage in politics pragmatically. These “pragmatic libertarian” schemes are not pragmatic, they are some kind of idealistic view of think tank proposals passing exactly as planned. In reality they get mangled in the process of making their way through the legislative compromise process and you end up with some horrid new tax/bureaucracy and still have the one(s) you were going to get rid of as a trade.

  71. paulie Post author

    You can certainly read the evidence that way. I don’t.

    I don’t see any other way to read it.

    My only question to such a person is: why participate in electoral politics at all then?

    If I choose to ignore the government that doesn’t mean it will choose to ignore me. Political participation can be justified on self-defense grounds.

  72. dL

    Now, of course, I suspect you (or someone, coming from some political angle, representing some faction) would have some sort of response as to why $50K is not a good exemption amount.

    No, the response is how do you exempt someone from paying a consumption tax other than by not consuming?

  73. paulie

    “No, the response is how do you exempt someone from paying a consumption tax other than by not consuming?”

    You’d have to either track all of their spending individually (yeah small government!) or continue to track all of their income for the purpose of calculating the exemption (more yeah small government!)

  74. dL

    You’d have to either track all of their spending individually (yeah small government!) or continue to track all of their income for the purpose of calculating the exemption (more yeah small government!)

    That’s a (total surveillance) reimbursement scheme, not an exemption scheme. Reference the “Yellow Jacket protests” to see how well these fossil fuel tax increases are going over in France.

  75. Anthony Dlugos

    “These “pragmatic libertarian” schemes are not pragmatic, they are some kind of idealistic view of think tank proposals passing exactly as planned. In reality they get mangled in the process of making their way through the legislative compromise process and you end up with some horrid new tax/bureaucracy and still have the one(s) you were going to get rid of as a trade.”

    On the contrary, I am fully aware that pragmatic proposals are NOT going to pass exactly as planned. Review my post at 09:45. I think you’ll see I’m prepared for mangling.

    I’m only looking for something better at the margin than what we have now.

    Pursuant to that, dL is right: abolishment of SS,Medicare, medicaid is very unlikely.

    But its unlikely with or without a UBI.

    On the other hand, I believe its possible to produce marginal improvement if you start from a more acceptable starting point.

    I can’t foresee how that would occur. Indeed, its even possible that, as the legislative process unfolds, a Libertarian Congressional caucus might see their proposed UBI-based legislation appearing to end up in a worse place than where we are now. Such a caucus can always withdraw support if that occurs.

    Kinda messy, but that’s politics for you.

    What we know with absolutely certainty CANNOT work is staking out a political position with close to zero public support and expect to get anywhere. You’ll never have any leverage whatsoever.

    As I have mentioned before, the Libertarian Party, as opposed to libertarians or libertarianism, is constrained by the frame of reference of the voting public. This is the nature of electoral politics.

    At some level, the Libertarian Party has to believe we can work through the electoral and legislative process, cobble together coalitions, and managed to engender marginal improvement.

    OTOH, if you are absolutely certain that, no matter what you do, a pragmatic policy stance will ALWAYS result in a worse situation, I can’t imagine why you would want to enter the arena of electoral politics in the first place.

    That’s reason to abolish the LP entirely as a useless endeavor.

  76. paulie Post author

    I’m only looking for something better at the margin than what we have now.

    That’s kind of hard to predict when you’re shooting at a constantly moving target. The best rule of thumb I can see based on empirical evidence is that a new tax is invariably worse at the margin than what we have now.

  77. paulie Post author

    That’s a (total surveillance) reimbursement scheme, not an exemption scheme. Reference the “Yellow Jacket protests” to see how well these fossil fuel tax increases are going over in France.

    Exactly.

  78. paulie Post author

    I can’t foresee how that would occur. Indeed, its even possible that, as the legislative process unfolds, a Libertarian Congressional caucus might see their proposed UBI-based legislation appearing to end up in a worse place than where we are now. Such a caucus can always withdraw support if that occurs.

    It’s predictable, and by this point withdrawing support won’t stop it.

  79. paulie Post author

    .

    What we know with absolutely certainty CANNOT work is staking out a political position with close to zero public support and expect to get anywhere. You’ll never have any leverage whatsoever.

    Much of what makes up the bipartisan/mainstream political consensus these days started out with close to zero public support and stayed with little public support for a long, long time.

  80. paulie Post author

    OTOH, if you are absolutely certain that, no matter what you do, a pragmatic policy stance will ALWAYS result in a worse situation

    I don’t. I just differ with you on what constitutes a pragmatic policy stance.

  81. Anthony Dlugos

    “That’s a (total surveillance) reimbursement scheme, not an exemption scheme.”

    We have a total surveillance scheme now.

    One half of one percent standing athwart history yelling “Taxation is theft.” hasn’t stopped that from occurring.

    For obvious reasons. One half of one percent will never change anything in the electoral arena.

  82. paulie Post author

    That’s reason to abolish the LP entirely as a useless endeavor.

    As I recall the LP was already abolished in Ohio and I spent half of 2017 helping get it back on the ballot. I seem to recall you saying at the time that it doesn’t matter whether it’s on the ballot or not because it’s too extreme?

  83. paulie Post author

    We have a total surveillance scheme now.

    If you think that just wait until the federal government gets an excuse to track every purchase each individual makes.

  84. Anthony Dlugos

    “Much of what makes up the bipartisan/mainstream political consensus these days started out with close to zero public support and stayed with little public support for a long, long time.”

    All such consensuses were political in some sense,

    That is, they explicitly conceded the existence of the state.

    I’m unaware of how you could build a consensus that involves all take and no give on our part. Or that the “give” is only tactical, and something we’ve presumably indicated we plan on taking down the line anyway.

  85. paulie Post author

    That is, they explicitly conceded the existence of the state.

    Not true. Anarchists were involved in many political struggles historically. And many more included people whose endpoint was far beyond that of those allied with them on individual issues.

  86. Anthony Dlugos

    I am interested in hearing how exactly Marc defended Arvin’s recent ugly statements.

    I can’t say I am surprised, given how he condones scaring and offending people.

  87. paulie Post author

    I am interested in hearing how exactly Marc defended Arvin’s recent ugly statements.

    I can’t say I am surprised, given how he condones scaring and offending people.

    Unfortunately, the original post we had the discussion on seems to have disappeared, most likely erased by its original author.

    From my recollection, Marc said that welfare recipients are parasites and therefore there is nothing unlibertarian about using government force to sterilize them; that Arvin’s comments about bringing alt right, Trumpertarian and “mens rights” types into the LP was correct because it’s better than having them outside the LP; and that I am the one who has changed (by implication, not him or Arvin). I was going to respond to those points when I was done liveblogging but by then the discussion had been memoryholed.

  88. dL

    We have a total surveillance scheme now.

    No we don’t. Roughly 1/2 the population does not file income taxes…

  89. dL

    I am interested in hearing how exactly Marc defended Arvin’s recent ugly statements.

    Well , first you can explain why you have Arvin’s book, Why Hillary Lost, in your Facebook reading list. Really, dude…

  90. Anthony Dlugos

    “Well , first you can explain why you have Arvin’s book, Why Hillary Lost, in your Facebook reading list.”

    I do?

    Frankly, I almost never get on Facebook anymore, and haven’t a clue what a Facebook reading list is.

    I can assure you I would never waste my time with his dopey book.

    I do remember telling him that a person would have to be an idiot to read his book, or expect to learn anything from it.

    The “book” came out like a few days after Election Day.

    The idea that he was able to formulate a theory of why she lost and test it against the data, which obviously hadn’t been compiled yet, was ludicrous.

  91. dL

    I can assure you I would never waste my time with his dopey book.

    Well, I can assure you that you took the time to list it as your favorite book on Facebook.

  92. Anthony Dlugos

    well, you’ve cracked the case!

    I’m a secret Vohra supporter!

    He actually autographed my copy of his book.

  93. dL

    well, you’ve cracked the case!

    I’m a secret Vohra supporter!

    There is nothing to crack. It’s not much of a secret when you advertise it on your social media accounts.

  94. robert capozzi

    pf: Realistically, it’s a lot harder to get rid of an existing tax (much less keep it from coming back) than to introduce a new one, so we should never, ever push for introducing any new tax that does not already exist.

    Me: It’s hard to say with certainty. Poll taxes have been abolished, last I checked. As a NAPist, it seems odd that you’d be concerned with realism, but I suggest that you’ve got your realism wrong.

    IF the idea is that Ls (as constrained by NAPists) can ONLY be for reducing taxes, never expect a seat at the table. To get to the table, there has to be an aspirational message that rings true, fair, and reasonable. IF the position is: We can only be for racheting down the current taxes, best to go home, or maybe give money to academic institutions with the hopes that NAPism is broadly adopted maybe in a century.

    I’d not support pollution taxes as replacement for the INCOME tax. I might for the payroll tax replacement, because it’s regressive. I’d prefer even better to fund a UBI with pollution taxes, along with other reasonable and necessary (read: “for now,” NAPists) government functions like true national defense and the courts. Of course, I’d slash most discretionary spending along with a UBI, as M. Friedman effectively proposed. But the REAL, best reason to support UBI (or citizens dividend) is a) to offset the intrinsic unfairness of the justice system and b) as compensation for our shared natural resources.

    Politics is combining an aspirational message with a track record for effectiveness. Without offering those to voters, Ls are braying at the moon.

  95. dL

    But the REAL, best reason to support UBI (or citizens dividend) is a) to offset the intrinsic unfairness of the justice system and b) as compensation for our shared natural resources.

    Citizen’s dividend is Georgist rent or a common share of natural resource extraction(like Oil). It is NOT a consumption tax or a pigovian tax. It no more makes sense to call that a citizen’s dividend than it would be to finance a UBI scheme with tariffs on trade and call that social justice.

  96. dL

    justice involves accepting a rough approximation of justice.

    restitution for the criminal instead of the victim I suppose would meet the criteria for a rough approximation of justice.

  97. dL

    That is, they explicitly conceded the existence of the state.

    There is a difference between conceding the existence of something vs. conceding the legitimacy of something. Actually, concedingis the wrong word. I wouldn’t say “I concede the existence of water.” Likewise, vis a vis the state. It’s existence is obvious. Interestingly, the ones who say “there is no state” are the Cato types. For them, there is no state. It’s all just methodologically individualistic self-interested actors.

  98. Anthony Dlugos

    maybe it was serendipitous that my twitter feed recommended that I read this Libertarianism.org article on one Robert Anton Wilson. I’ve excerpted the relevant item for the o.p. here (but not just him):

    “It is, perhaps, safe to say that radical libertarians in the eccentric Wilson and Thornley mold can be a jumpy, paranoid lot. If Wilson was able to maintain his balance on the edge of such fear and paranoia, keeping his distance through humor and mockery, then Thornley tripped and fell, eventually drowning. Many of us, as libertarians, will recognize the Thornley type. The radical must always take care not to let his hatred of authority fester into an all-encompassing, delusional panic.

    https://www.libertarianism.org/columns/robert-anton-wilson-mildly-puzzled-all-time

  99. Anthony Dlugos

    “As I recall the LP was already abolished in Ohio and I spent half of 2017 helping get it back on the ballot. I seem to recall you saying at the time that it doesn’t matter whether it’s on the ballot or not because it’s too extreme?”

    I don’t recall the context. I don’t think I would say it doesn’t matter whether the LP is on the ballot or not.

    I would say that the reason we lose ballot access is because we are too extreme. That goes for why we don’t win too.

    I’ve never shied away from my opinion that our lack of success is 100% our own fault. Its not ballot access rules or a media blackout, Its our own positions that put us far outside the mainstream voter mindset.

    If you want to respond that (to you), the sort of platform/messaging would make us no different than the Reform Party, you are entitled to your opinion…but we wouldn’t have to worry about ballot access anymore, and I think we could get one check from a real heavyweight donor that would make financial consternation a thing of the past.

    But yes, if we want to insist on “where governments exist” language and the like,, then assume the extent of our successes will be regaining ballot access in Ohio. We may find it a Great Compromise between radicals and pragmatics, but the other 99.5% in this country would just chuckle about such an Accord.

  100. paulie Post author

    I don’t recall the context. I don’t think I would say it doesn’t matter whether the LP is on the ballot or not.

    I think we were trying to get Ohio LP people to go out and help get signatures, iirc.

  101. paulie Post author

    I would say that the reason we lose ballot access is because we are too extreme.

    I don’t think so. In Ohio’s case it was because Kasich felt threatened that Charlie Earl could swing the election away from him and played dirty tricks to keep Earl off the ballot. This wasn’t because Earl was too extreme and irrelevant but because he was too mainstream for Kasich’s tastes and in the governor and his friends’ minds posed a threat to their dominance over the other duopolist crime family.

  102. paulie Post author

    That goes for why we don’t win too.

    Also untrue. There have been many efforts at creating centrist third parties during and before the time the LP has been around, the Reform Party being the biggest and best known but far from the only one. All of them fizzled, even more so than attempts to build new parties to the left and right of the duopoly. It seems like in politics, just like on roads, the only thing in the middle is yellow stripes and roadkill.

  103. paulie Post author

    If you want to respond that (to you), the sort of platform/messaging would make us no different than the Reform Party, you are entitled to your opinion…but we wouldn’t have to worry about ballot access anymore

    You’re right, the Reform Party doesn’t have to worry about ballot access very much anymore.

    and I think we could get one check from a real heavyweight donor that would make financial consternation a thing of the past.

    If my objective for involvement in politics consisted primarily of getting large checks and not having to worry about ballot access there are two parties which fit that criteria.

  104. paulie Post author

    It’s hard to say with certainty. Poll taxes have been abolished, last I checked. As a NAPist, it seems odd that you’d be concerned with realism, but I suggest that you’ve got your realism wrong.

    OK, I’ll concede that taxes which exist primarily to punish or prevent behavior have at times been eliminated. Taxes which exist primarily to raise significant amounts of revenue have not, as far as I know. Do you have counter-examples?

    As a NAPist, it seems odd that you’d be concerned with realism,

    Why? I live in the real world just like everyone else. Sure, I have my idealist fantasies, but I realize we have to get from here to there and that it has to begin with small concrete steps in the here and now.

  105. paulie Post author

    IF the idea is that Ls (as constrained by NAPists) can ONLY be for reducing taxes, never expect a seat at the table.

    I disagree. I think there’s room for a seat at the table for a party which always pushes back against the efforts of the other parties to expand government. It just needs to be better organized, but the constituency exists. I run into that constituency all the time when I talk to the public, but many of them don’t vote, almost all of the ones who do vote for the “lesser evil,” and even of the ones who vote for the LP very few are actively involved, so there’s plenty of room for the LP to grow.

  106. paulie Post author

    Politics is combining an aspirational message with a track record for effectiveness. Without offering those to voters, Ls are braying at the moon.

    And what’s the track record of success of tax substitution schemes at making us more free and prosperous?

  107. Anthony Dlugos

    “You’re right, the Reform Party doesn’t have to worry about ballot access very much anymore.”

    On the other hand, we have millions of undocumented workers now worried about deportation, medical marijuana users and cannabis industry players worried about taking hard-won steps back, the LGBT community seeing various government protections rolled back, women who worry their reproductive rights are on the chopping block, praying RBG survives another couple years (at least). To say nothing of the people losing their jobs because of Trump’s trade wars, or the immigrants who won’t even bother trying to immigrate to America.

    I seriously doubt any of them are gonna thank us for holding firm on refusing to even discuss any new tax, even if its in a hypothetical trade off with a current tax. They probably think our various shibboleths, like “Taxation is Theft” are the height of out-of-touch thinking.

    We gonna help those people? Or are we gonna be political pharisees, more concerned with upholding the law?

    Might we end up like the Reform Party? I don’t think so, but its possible, I’d have to concede that.

    If we can save one detained asylum-seeker, I argue we take that chance.

  108. paulie Post author

    I don’t see how the LP pushing for new taxes will help any of those people. The evidence for such an assertion seems to be lacking. Feel free to point to some rather than just keep asserting, without evidence, that we would be orders of magnitude more successful or that such trade-off attempts actually work in the real world at making us any more free or prosperous or peaceful. Is there any empirical evidence for such claims?

  109. dL

    I seriously doubt any of them are gonna thank us for holding firm on refusing to even discuss any new tax, even if its in a hypothetical trade off with a current tax. They probably think our various shibboleths, like “Taxation is Theft” are the height of out-of-touch thinking.

    You would significantly raise their cost of living expenses , and they wouldn’t be eligible for your reimbursement scheme. Maybe that’s your intent…

  110. William T. Forrest

    “Is there any empirical evidence for such claims?”

    I have seen zero. As far as I can tell they are faith based.

  111. paulie Post author

    They probably think our various shibboleths, like “Taxation is Theft” are the height of out-of-touch thinking.

    I’ve discussed taxation being theft/extortion, police being plantation overseers, and other such radical ideas with fellow inmates in jail, people riding the greyhound bus with me, etc. These are not highbrow concepts which regular people never understand or agree with. If anything they know the reality of these things all too well.

    Nor is this kind of understanding solely the province of the underclass either. I’ve discussed similar ideas in, for example, regular blue collar drinking establishments and have found no shortage of people who agree with me, even if these are not ideas they are about to go out on a limb for as activists or even voters.

  112. paulie Post author

    There is nothing to crack. It’s not much of a secret when you advertise it on your social media accounts.

    Listed as favorite book or just gave it a facebook like?

  113. Anthony Dlugos

    Yes, my favorite book used to be Paradise Lost by Milton, but “Better to Reign in Hell, Than Serve in Heaven” just lost all its poetic impact with me when I became entranced by the libertarian movement’s poet laureate, Arvin Vohra and his free verse book, “Why Hillary Lost.”

  114. robert capozzi

    pf: Taxes which exist primarily to raise significant amounts of revenue have not, as far as I know.

    Me: On my first search, I found that New Zealand abolished the Land Tax in the 1990s, which had at one point represented of three-quarters of “state thievery.” I’m sure I can find more, but I wonder whether if I even found 100 examples you’d be persuaded. Would you?

  115. dL

    Yes, my favorite book used to be Paradise Lost by Milton, but “Better to Reign in Hell, Than Serve in Heaven” just lost all its poetic impact with me when I became entranced by the libertarian movement’s poet laureate, Arvin Vohra and his free verse book, “Why Hillary Lost.”

    Apparently so.

  116. robert capozzi

    pf: I don’t see how the LP pushing for new taxes will help any of those people. … Is there any empirical evidence for such claims?

    me: Umm, GJ did so, although I didn’t support his choice of plans. I’m not sure that the “LP” or the “LPUS” should push a particular plan. I just think the Ls can and should offer aspirational plans that are aspirational, simplifies taxes, taxes either in a more neutral or possibly even dissuades harms, sounds fairer than the current setup, that enables spending cuts, etc.

    A UBI/pollution tax fits the bill for me, but I’ve been untethered by the NAP for over a decade now.

    As for wanting an empirical proof, that’s an odd request coming from a NAPist. NAPism is completely a morality play. Your empirical “proof” amounts to Zomia and non-Mogadishu Somalia, possibly first millennial Iceland. These are unpersuasive to me certainly, and I suspect the vast majority will have a similar reaction as I do.

  117. paulie Post author

    On my first search, I found that New Zealand abolished the Land Tax in the 1990s, which had at one point represented of three-quarters of “state thievery.” I’m sure I can find more, but I wonder whether if I even found 100 examples you’d be persuaded. Would you?

    Possibly, yes. Especially if you can find any from the US, since foreign political systems have some significant differences which may account for something happening there which wouldn’t happen in the same way here. But more examples even from overseas could potentially help change my mind. I have changed my mind about various things before, even in recent years.

  118. paulie Post author

    I don’t think it was a major revenue source at the time. But even if it was, that just proves my earlier point that these trade-offs don’t work, because even if you succeed in getting rid of one tax to bring in another the old one can still come back and you end up with both.

  119. robert capozzi

    If you are correct, then it’s all quite hopeless, short of widespread, super-majority acceptance of NAPism. We’re all fucked. It’s just a question of how fast the pumps come, eh?

  120. robert capozzi

    I note that noted NAPist Andy believes the Income Tax Amendment was improperly ratified. And that the income tax 2.0 wasn’t a major source of revenue for decades.

  121. paulie Post author

    If you are correct, then it’s all quite hopeless, short of widespread, super-majority acceptance of NAPism. We’re all fucked. It’s just a question of how fast the pumps come, eh?

    Who said any of that? Antiwar organizations don’t work to trade one war for another. The National Taxpayers Union doesn’t work to institute new taxes. None of that necessarily requires “widespread super-majority acceptance of NAPism” and none of it is overnight. Much of the political agenda of the socialist and progressive parties was enacted eventually, even though they were radical organizations at the time and never became major parties. Now those radical ideas are bipartisan consensus. Abolition of slavery, legal racial equality, votes for women, equal rights for women…many things were once radical ideas. So I’m not by any means accepting that we’re necessarily fucked or that the way to get unfucked is some kind of tax substitution agenda.

  122. paulie Post author

    I note that noted NAPist Andy believes the Income Tax Amendment was improperly ratified.

    That and 5 bucks gets me a latte.

    And that the income tax 2.0 wasn’t a major source of revenue for decades.

    Yes, that’s true. But it still doesn’t do anything to lend any support to the idea that we will increase peace, freedom and/or prosperity by pushing to substitute one tax for another. Or that even if we succeeded in such a trade that we would keep the tax we thought we got rid of from coming back so we end up with both.

  123. Chuck Moulton

    As usual, Paulie is completely correct about the practical effects of advocating for tax substitution schemes: you just get both taxes and higher taxes.

  124. robert capozzi

    pf,

    Hmm, how’s the work of anti-war and NTU working out so far would you say?

    btw, I’m pretty sure that NTU has advocated for changes to the income tax that might cause one person to pay more taxes. That’s a NAP violation.

  125. William T. Forrest

    I think we’d be even worse off now on the peace and tax issues now without the work of the single issue advocacy groups and coalitions on these issues. I don’t know how to prove that off hand but that’s my sense. I think the LP has stopped things from being worse more than most people realize too, although in most cases indirectly. Are you assuming that just because we don’t live in utopia things wouldn’t have been even worse by now without the work of advocacy groups?

  126. robert capozzi

    wtf,

    I might be persuaded by your point. For me, it’s a question of calibration. Ask for too much and get nothing. Ask for too little and get nothing. Ask for something in between and maybe there is some success. Ask it well, persuasively, and perhaps there’s actually movement.

    NAPism has in my estimation failed at moving the dial. Taxpayer movements have been somewhat effective in raising consciousness about the burden of taxation, and perhaps slowed the growth of the Leviathan. Anti-war movements were effective for perhaps the 70s and 80s, but their strength has waned, as I see it.

    My views are informed by a combination of what is right AND what sells. Zero taxation might be “right” but it doesn’t sell. Pacificism might be right but also doesn’t sell. I contend you have to have both to be effective. PF’s 1930s allusions to socialists neglects to recognize that that model involved BOTH. They employed creeping incrementalism.

    At root, the LP doesn’t. It’s absolutist at bottom. Absolutism doesn’t sell. We can ONLY advocate for lower existing taxes doesn’t sell, because it is perceived to screw the poor.

  127. Anthony Dlugos

    I’m curious what the o.p. here would say regarding the following news item.

    What do people that post here think he would say? What is the proper LP position? What position is in keeping with the platform?

    Article title and link:

    “Republican Ohio lawmakers open to drug crime reform after Issue 1?s failure”

    https://www.cleveland.com/open/2018/12/republican-ohio-lawmakers-open-to-drug-crime-reform-after-issue-1s-failure.html

    Excerpts:

    Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, who opposed November’s drug crime constitutional amendment, has made good on an earlier promise that he would look at reforming the law.

    Proponents of Issue 1, which failed at the ballot box last month, said they are encouraged by Monday’s introduction of Senate Bill 341, but are awaiting details. They want the bill to reduce the prison population and expand treatment for addicts.

    Here’s four things the bill would purport to do (its just brief sketches now):

    1) Reducing most fourth- and fifth-degree drug felonies to misdemeanors when the court will presumably sentence a defendant to probation or drug court.

    2) Allowing inmates incarcerated or on probation for newly reclassified fourth- and fifth-degree felonies to petition the court to reclassify their offense to a misdemeanor and a reduce their sentence.

    3) Enabling people trying to rebuild their lives to seal records related to previous fourth- and fifth-degree drug possession convictions that have been reclassified as misdemeanors.

    4) Creating a presumption against jail time for technical felony probation violations. A technical violation would be failing to finish a GED, for instance, which could be part of a sentence but not a violation of the law. It also would grant judges the discretion to send the offender for more treatment or to a penal facility if a violation is associated with a new offense or when there are repeated violations. Generally, a relapse into addiction would not mean prison time.

    Sound good?

    Ahh, but here’s the fifth thing, capitalization mine:

    5) For the remaining felony drug possession offenses, eliminating all mandatory drug sentences EXCEPT FOR MAJOR DRUG OFFENDER CONVICTIONS AND POSSESSION OF FENTANYL.

    So, you’re a Libertarian who’s managed to get elected to the Ohio General Assembly.

    What do you do?

    Am I wrong to suggest the o.p. here would argue such a congressperson should do the “scary” thing and argue the capitalized items are a NAP violation, and consequently should vote no on this bill? After all, shouldn’t the individual be able to possess fentanyl?

    No dodging by saying “the Libertarian congresscritter should vote how they feel and the party can then decide if the person should be brought before the judicial committee,” or some such thing.

    Does that capitalized section make the bill violative of the NAP?

  128. William T. Forrest

    “They employed creeping incrementalism.”

    So do we. Fabian, progressive….progressing towards what? Public ownership of the means of production? That’s pretty absolutist, no? No less absolutist than our goals, as far as I can tell.

  129. William T. Forrest

    “Does that capitalized section make the bill violative of the NAP?”

    No. It just fails to eliminate a current bad government policy, it doesn’t make it worse, while making other policies better. How do you manage to spend so much time here and yet still have to ask something that basic, or are you just trolling?

  130. Anthony Dlugos

    “No. It just fails to eliminate a current bad government policy, it doesn’t make it worse…”

    I can 100% guarantee there are radicals who would disagree with you. They don’t like me, and even if they knew this hypothetical is coming from me, they would absolutely disagree with you.

    I’ll make a gentleman’s wager with you that the o.p. would disagree with you. He would call it a NAP violation and would argue a Libertarian in congress should vote against this bill.

    Name the stakes.

    As an aside, I personally agree with you. On balance, this bill has far more good than bad.

    On the other hand, I’ve never see a NAPist or radical suggest that, because an aggression is codified into law, we can ignore it.

  131. paulie Post author

    OK, that’s a bet. Let’s make it for $400, how about that? If Marc will say it would be a NAP violation to vote for a bill which eliminates some drug penalties and doesn’t make any worse, just because it does not eliminate every single one of them, I will owe you that money and should be able to pay you next month. If he says it’s not, I appreciate you taking care of my unexpected expense in replacing my laptop last week.

  132. Anthony Dlugos

    haha. $400 is not a gentlemen’s bet, and more than I can lose.

    I can make it a coffee or a beer, something without the major financial incentive you disclosed.

    On the other hand, I am curious about two things:

    A) Marc said in the o.p. that we should be “scary,” even to go so far as to argue the military should be abolished. Why would you think he would blanch if faced with this bill, which tacitly condones continued penalties on possession of fentanyl.

    B) When did the radical position change such that currently codified aggressions are o.k.?

  133. paulie Post author

    Well, you’re the one who said name your stakes. So name your stakes, up to that amount. I’m not saying he would oppose a bill that doesn’t also make fentanyl legal, or that he wouldn’t like it even better than the bill you mentioned. Our position hasn’t changed and current NAP violations are still such, but voting for this bill doesn’t make them worse and does make some of them better so why would it be a NAP violation to vote for it?

  134. Anthony Dlugos

    I say the stakes are a single-serving beverage, max $10, of any kind at the 2020 Convention.

    Hell, that’s worth it just to put MM on the spot.

    Either I’ll be proven right, or I’ll let Governor Weld know he has a lot more leeway than he thought for 2020.

    I have him on speed dial.

  135. paulie Post author

    You have Bill Weld on speed dial? Cool, ask him if he wants to help donate/fundraise for Arkansas ballot access. You’re on for beverage bet.

  136. Anthony Dlugos

    no response from MM yet?

    FYI: its pretty well understood what the term “gentleman’s bet” means. In case one didn’t know, however:

    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gentleman%27s%20Bet

    “A wager on principle rather than for significant amounts of money.

    A typical Gentleman’s Bet will be for no money or a nominal sum (e.g., $1) with the “prize” of being correct going to the winner. Think of Trading Places and the bet the Duke brothers made.”

  137. paulie Post author

    I haven’t actually tried contacting him yet. Was hoping he’d pop in here but I’m not in a hurry, no conventions happening all that soon that I know of.

  138. dL

    FYI: its pretty well understood what the term “gentleman’s bet” means. In case one didn’t know, however:

    yeah, a gentlemen’s bet usually means the only thing at stake is honor. However, if one proposes “name your terms,” then it would mean more like “gentlemen’s agreement,” where one is relying on the other’s honor not to welch.

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