Communications Director Andrew Davis: ‘We (the Libertarian Party) do believe government has a function in the economy’

Posted at LP.org:

Government’s Role in the Economy
posted by Andrew Davis on Dec 17, 2008
When we say that we want to keep government out of the economy, people often ask, “Isn’t that economic anarchy?”

At first our “Wall of Separation” commitment (that is, a commitment to keeping a wall of separation between economy and State) may seem a little bit like anarchy; however, we do believe government has a function in the economy. It’s just that its role is very limited, and it is centered around the protection of property rights from fraud and abuse.

From our platform:

2.0 Economic Liberty

A free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner. Each person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. The only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected. All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.

So what do we mean when we say we want to keep government out of the economy, yet we still maintain it has a role? We want to avoid exactly what government is doing now: micromanaging the largest economy in the world.

As the saying goes, “The freer the market, the freer the people.” Government has a necessary and proper role in our society to protect property rights, and this includes property rights in the market. However, government does not have a responsibility to micromanage the economy.

Though, as of late, government seems more prone to rewarding possible fraud than investigating it.

122 thoughts on “Communications Director Andrew Davis: ‘We (the Libertarian Party) do believe government has a function in the economy’

  1. Trent Hill

    If there is any conflict here, it isnt caused by Mr. Davis–he’s simply quoting the platform.

  2. G.E.

    Trent – You’re wrong. “The only proper role” does not insist that there is a role, or that there has to be a role. The platform does NOT say “the government must have a role” in the economy.

    Andrew Davis should go back to gay bashing and learn how to write a press release. This is the most poorly worded piece of trash I’ve ever written. What a loser. But even bigger losers are all the morons who continue to associate themselves with this ridiculous, laughable organization known as the “libertarian” party.

  3. libertyuk2000

    Here I have been teaching the grandchildren how wonderful your country is that it respects the right of property ownership. Apparently some of you do not. Perhaps GE should move elsewhere – like Russia or China. I noted from prior postings that clearly you sir are not a libertarian, but what are you – a communist?

    Governments clearly have some purpose and roles, why not “to protect property rights?” For this is one of the key principles for which your country was founded and so many others emulated.

    Good evening to you sir, for it is late and you are clearly too ignorant to have this discussion with.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    Hey g.e. first you can’t read and then told to perhaps move elsewhere. been a bad day huh g.e?

  5. derkel

    I’m glad Davis put out a rational pragmatic blog post concerning the libertarians view on government in the economy.

    Thinking industry will regulate itself without corruption is as naive as believing government could effectively run it.

    Government does have a minimal role and that is to keep abuses from happening.

    Although I’m sure a complete free market where companies are free to do as they wish wouldn’t lead to any corruption or negative effects whatsoever would it?

  6. Trent Hill

    GE,

    It seems to me that the platform doesnt need to say that the government HAS to have a purpose. It says there is a “proper” use for government in the economy. Is there any use for government in the economy that an anarchist would say is “proper”?

    I have no dog in the fight–but I’ve often thought that the platform long ago broke the Dallas Accord, I’v no idea whether it was the pre-2006 platform that really broke the Accord or the new one–but one of them did it first.

  7. paulie cannoli Post author

    Trent, “only proper” in that context means no more than – but not also no less than, as both you and Davis seem to be interpreting.

    It’s not immediately apparent from the context of the sentence itself that this has to be the case. You have to also know the history of the LP a little.

  8. Trent Hill

    “Trent, “only proper” in that context means no more than – but not also no less than, as both you and Davis seem to be interpreting. ”

    This might be the intended reading–but it reads as “the sole function of”

  9. paulie cannoli Post author

    Do you believe there is a necessary and proper role for government in society?

    Yes
    22% (196 votes)

    Maybe
    13% (113 votes)

    No
    65% (569 votes)

    Total votes: 878

  10. G.E.

    So it’s not a press release. Just as few people will read it anyway.

    Point being, there are plenty of libertarians who do NOT believe the state has any proper function whatsoever. Paulie is correct in stating the difference between limiting the state to a coercive and inefficient monopoly on justice vs. insisting that the state provide those “services.”

    libertyuk2000 : Coming from an overtly communist country like the UK (I’m assuming), I guess I can understand why you’re such a blind statist that you’d equate saying the evil and coercive state should not be in charge of defending property rights with the idea that property itself is illegitimate. But you’re wrong. I know you love your National Health Service and other socialist programs in jolly ‘ol England, but just because a service is necessary doesn’t mean a coercive monopoly needs to provide it. Get your head out of the Queen’s bum.

  11. G.E.

    Government does have a minimal role and that is to keep abuses from happening.

    I’d rather trust that to Santa Clause. It’s just as likely to happen.

  12. derkel

    “I’d rather trust that to Santa Clause. It’s just as likely to happen.”

    Which is also true about thinking companies are honest.

    We can trust honest companies like Blackwater for our security because it has worked out well for the Iraqis right?

    Corporate fascism who are accountable to nobody is far worse. I’ll continue to prefer minimal government oversight.

  13. Trent Hill

    “Which is also true about thinking companies are honest.

    We can trust honest companies like Blackwater for our security because it has worked out well for the Iraqis right?”

    Blackwater is a fascist company, not the product of the free market. It recieved the vast majority of its money from government contracts, meaning that when it makes a mistake it suffers in NO way.

    There are plenty of private security agencies that do just fine–including 19 other companies here in the US. If a person can depend on a bodygaurd to defend him better than a team of police officers (which I think is demonstrably true)–then why not a private millitary company (PMC) instead of the army? Given the option, i’d 10x rather pay Executive Outcomes than the US Military Services–and that is meant as no measure of disrespect to the US Armed forces—but Executive Outcomes, I can fire if they do badly.

    There are also 4 in the UK, one in Norway, one in Australia, one that operates in the Pacific, etc.

  14. Trent Hill

    For the record, this doesnt mean that I prefer the abolishment of the armed forces–but I think many of their “responsibilities” could be replaced with private industry. The whole pirating thing in Somolia could (and should) be solved by private agencies.

  15. G.E.

    Corporate fascism who are accountable to nobody is far worse. I’ll continue to prefer minimal government oversight.

    Ha! Under a free market, “corporations” wouldn’t even exist. The firms that did would be accountable to their customers. That’s how capitalism works.

    The socialist takeover of the LP is complete. You’re making the classic leftist conflation of what we have with the “free market.” The free market would not have Blackwater in Iraq, for god’s sake. THINK.

    The state is evil. It serves NO legitimate purpose. It is a territorial monopoly on force, financed by theft and murder. Period.

  16. derkel

    “Blackwater is a fascist company, not the product of the free market. ”

    I disagree. In a complete free market with no government at all the strongest company will take over the smaller one. We will be left with little choice for which one to choose. You are also assuming these companies wouldn’t collude with one another for business purposes.

    Companies are generally as honest as government.

    “but I think many of their “responsibilities” could be replaced with private industry.”

    I could see that argument for certain situations. Not for national defense though.

    “The socialist takeover of the LP is complete. You’re making the classic leftist conflation of what we have with the “free market.””

    Using blanket labels for everyone you disagree with is far easier than dealing with actual facts.

    The free market could easily still have a Blackwater in Iraq.

  17. G.E.

    In a complete free market with no government at all the strongest company will take over the smaller one.

    Jesus Christ. Unlearn the socialist lies you’ve been taught.

    The free market could easily still have a Blackwater in Iraq.

    You clearly don’t understand what “free market” means.

  18. derkel

    “Jesus Christ. Unlearn the socialist lies you’ve been taught.”

    So this has never happened before ever?

    With no oversight it is inevitable companies will come together to create a more powerful organization. Thus, we will have less choices or really none at all. This is reality.

  19. JimDavidson

    How would a very minimal government handle things like property disputes, negligence (tort), property crime, violent crime (violence against persons), and war?

    A very thoughtful book on the topic is “The Law of the Somalis” by Michael van Notten, which I had the privilege to help edit after Michael’s death. The book discusses the Somali concepts of law.

    Let me make it clear that I don’t agree with everything the Somalis do in their legal system. Their treatment of women and children and chattel, among many other deficits, strike me as unworkable in a Western context, as well as undesirable in numerous particulars.

    But the concept of an ad hoc court system and an ad hoc military (or militia) is a good one. A standing court tends to generate new laws, or ordinances, and employ police to go out and enforce mala prohibitum rules in order to keep the court busy. Otherwise the judge would have to find real work. As would the clerks, bailiffs, and police.

    An ad hoc court only comes into existence when there is a dispute, and it ceases to exist when the dispute is resolved. The same is true for crimes.

    The Somalis have no standing legislature, so there is no new body of law coming into existence (to be misunderstood and enforced capriciously). The problems with a standing army and a standing court are similar to the problems of a standing legislature. It is sometimes said in Texas that while the law provides for the legislature to come into session every two years for five months, it would be better if they came into session only every five years, and for only two months.

    Anyway, I don’t think the size and scope of government that currently exists is necessary to the functioning of a private property system. It is clearly detrimental to private property. However, I am also clearly a “radical” who wants a dramatically smaller government.

    I think Andrew Davis is a lousy person, an authoritarian, and a jerk. But I repeat myself.

  20. mscrib

    Look: if you’re dense enough to believe that government–as everything currently stands–should not protect property rights, you should… stop reading Murray Rothbard and step into reality.

    Clearly defined and well-protected property rights form the foundation of every economic decision in this country. This isn’t anarcho-capitalist la-la land. Property rights serve a useful function. Disagree? Well, good thing no one important gives a shit.

  21. langa

    Most of the people on this thread who are criticizing the notion of libertarian anarchy seem to have little, if any, familiarity with the literature. Instead, they simply equate anarchy with chaos, which is a common mistake.

    If you would prefer not sounding like an idiot, I’d recommend you read either “For a New Liberty” by Rothbard or “The Machinery of Freedom” by David Friedman.

    If you are unwilling to go to that much trouble, at least check out the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism) before making silly criticisms of something you clearly don’t understand.

  22. Steven Druckenmiller

    langa –

    Perhaps it would be best if you point out individual areas where people have committed what you believe to be errors, rather than just pointing to David Friedman and Rothbard (how original!) to “bolster” your….uhh…what is your point again?

  23. langa

    Drunkenmiller,

    My point is that people who criticize things that they lack even a basic understanding of make themselves sound like idiots. I don’t have the time nor the desire to condense an entire book into a blog comment.

    Perhaps it would be best if you read the linked wiki page, rather than making smart-ass comments. Or you could look for another post where Ron Paul’s name is mentioned and try to hijack the thread by taking cheap shots at him. After all, you seem to find that very amusing.

    Better yet, you could go fuck yourself, you ignorant troll.

  24. Trent Hill

    “Better yet, you could go fuck yourself, you ignorant troll.”

    This makes you sound like a big shot, and an intellectual who is willing to teach him better ways.

    Please—be civil people.

  25. langa

    Trent,

    You’re right, I probably should have kept that last line to myself, but I’ve basically reached the end of my patience when it comes to Mr. Drunkenmiller.

    I tried for a long time to be civil and give him the benefit of the doubt, but he’s obviously a troll who comes here for 3 reasons:

    1. To take cheap shots at Ron Paul at EVERY

  26. starchild

    derkel writes (@19):

    Corporate fascism who are accountable to nobody is far worse. I’ll continue to prefer minimal government oversight.

    Fascism is a *political* philosophy, e.g. a philosophy of government. Generally speaking, under fascism a strong degree of control is exercised by a central state, but unlike communism, private property and privately owned businesses are not outlawed.

    Point being, “corporate fascism” can’t exist without government. I share your concern that anarchy might not be sustainable, that in such an environment businesses might start acting as governments — but at the point that occurs, what’s being described is no longer anarchy.

    And of course corporations, in the modern business sense, are specifically chartered by government. It’s not obvious to me that corporations as we know them could even exist under anarchy in the absence of such government charters granting them limited liability and “corporate personhood.”

  27. langa

    I accidentally hit “submit”, I guess. Anyway, that list of trollish activities was supposed to be:

    1. To take cheap shots at Ron Paul at EVERY conceivable opportunity.

    2. To promote his warped, Randian, warmongering brand of “libertarianism”.

    3. To make smart-ass comments about subjects he clearly doesn’t understand.

    If other want to take up the task of educating him, that’s their business, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s a lost cause.

  28. starchild

    I wonder — did Andrew Davis not consider the possible effects of publishing a blog entry specifically saying that Libertarians believe there is a necessary and proper role for government on the same day that visitors to the site are asked in a poll whether there is a necessary and proper role for government? Or was he deliberately trying to use his privileged communication status on LP.org (LP members can no longer post comments on blog entries there, so it is now a one-way communication portal) to influence the results of the poll?

  29. Trent Hill

    “Anyway, that list of trollish activities was supposed to be:

    1. To take cheap shots at Ron Paul at EVERY conceivable opportunity.

    2. To promote his warped, Randian, warmongering brand of “libertarianism”.

    3. To make smart-ass comments about subjects he clearly doesn’t understand.”

    None of these are trolling. Annoying to a Rothbardian perhaps—but not trolling. I would suggest you keep your patience, manage a civil tone, and discuss it with Druckenmiller—though I doubt he’ll be converted. Randians tend to stay that way.

  30. darolew

    The old an-cap/minarchist bickering again. The LP folk have been at it for 37 years, the libertarian movement in general for decades longer than that. I think, by now, everyone knows the argument will never end.

  31. Trent Hill

    darolew,

    My point exactly. Bickering is stupid. I dont have any problem with intellectuals and activists sitting down and argueing over lunch (politely) because they often convert each other. Nathaniel Branden converted Walter Block to Randianism, who was then converted by Rothbard to An-Cappism. I’v converted at least one Friedmanite (Milton, not David) and a Randian to Misesian minarchy–and that is FINE.

    But the bickering goes nowhere.

  32. Catholic Trotskyist

    The discussion about objectivism is interesting in that I am much closer to the Randians on economic issues than I am to the anarcho-capitalists. We should form the Objectivist/Catholic Trotskyist conspiracy to utterly crush the anarcho-capitalists. Figurately, of course. Yes, amen.

  33. Steven Druckenmiller

    Drunkenmiller

    Langa…it’s DruCkenmiller. Please.

    My point is that people who criticize things that they lack even a basic understanding of make themselves sound like idiots.

    And my point was that making a broadside and linking to a wiki page is not particularly revealing as to where people have made errors. if you think people have made errors, please enlighten us. You cannot just claim “lulz you gots it ALL WRONG read Rothbard.”

    2. To promote his warped, Randian, warmongering brand of “libertarianism”.

    Warmongering? I would ask that you provide proof of that, please. I am resolutely anti-interventionist.

    I’ve basically reached the end of my patience when it comes to Mr. Drunkenmiller.

    We’ve interacted all of once? Twice maybe? And already, you are out of patience?

    You must be young.

  34. Steven Druckenmiller

    And for what it’s worth, I kind of do enjoy taking cheap shots at Ron Paul, but only because his cult members get so damn spun up about him.

  35. langa

    Trent,

    Wikipedia says:

    “An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.[2]”

    His repeated cheap shots against Ron Paul certainly meet this criteria. As for the other crap he spews, maybe he really believes it, but if so, he believes it only in a dogmatic, close-minded way that is ironically reminiscent of the attitude often (sometimes corrctly) ascribed to many anarchists.

    As for converting people, I’m more than happy to try to do so, as long as they approach the subject with at least somewhat of an open mind. My own political philosophy has changed over the years, and I’m always happy to discuss matters like this, in the hopes that someone (maybe even myself) will learn something.

    However, these sort of intellectual discussions are impossible when someone is unwilling to even take 10 minutes to skim a Wikipedia article, and instead chooses to hurl wisecracks and insults at me. Having an intellectual discussion with someone like that is like trying to talk to Sean Hannity – it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

  36. Steven Druckenmiller

    Again, you referenced the Wikipedia artice on An-Capism in response to an error or errors you perceived individuals were making concerning anarcho-capitalism.

    I have read the article; I’ve read David Freidman…I’ve read Rothbard. Hell, I’ve read Spooner and Roderick Long and Bastiat and Hans-Herman Hoppe.

    Now, what specific errors did you see regarding anarcho-capitalism?

  37. Steven Druckenmiller

    You wrote “Most of the people on this thread who are criticizing the notion of libertarian anarchy seem to have little, if any, familiarity with the literature.”

    OK, how? And who? And in what way were they failing to understand anarcho-capitalism?

  38. langa

    What specific errors do I see? How about people saying, “Without the state, we’d be at the mercy of corporate fascism”?

    How about more than one person arguing that “We can’t get rid of the state, because we have to have property rights”, as if it were self-evident that the state is the only way to protect property rights?

    These types of arguments clearly come from people who are not even acquainted with anarcho-capitalist theory. Rothbard, Friedman, and many others have devoted a lot of time to explaining how, absent the state, property rights would still be protected, and we wouldn’t be at the mercy of big corporations.

    If you’ve actually read all the stuff you claim, and you still couldn’t identify any basic misconceptions about free market anarchy in the comments on this thread, you must have the reading comprehension of a 5-year-old.

  39. langa

    “Warmongering? I would ask that you provide proof of that, please. I am resolutely anti-interventionist.”

    Weren’t you the one who was arguing in favor of having military bases in Afghanistan? That doesn’t sound very “anti-interventionist” to me.

    “You must be young.”

    I wish I were.

  40. Steven Druckenmiller

    Weren’t you the one who was arguing in favor of having military bases in Afghanistan?

    Ahh, you must mean that nation that harbored the 9/11 masterminds and perpetrators. Yes, I did support going in there and getting them. Past that, I didn’t say much.

    Rothbard, Friedman, and many others have devoted a lot of time to explaining how, absent the state, property rights would still be protected, and we wouldn’t be at the mercy of big corporations.

    Yes, but the basic criticisms still do boil down to “private armies could wreak just as much havoc as state ones, or form their own despotistic states” or “property rights are difficult to defend without a monopolistic provider of defense in a given geographical area”.

    So, I didn’t see a lot of errors there. And honestly, you need to address those errors, not just loftily tell people to go read a book. That’s not an argument.

  41. paulie cannoli Post author

    I wonder — did Andrew Davis not consider the possible effects of publishing a blog entry specifically saying that Libertarians believe there is a necessary and proper role for government on the same day that visitors to the site are asked in a poll whether there is a necessary and proper role for government? Or was he deliberately trying to use his privileged communication status on LP.org (LP members can no longer post comments on blog entries there, so it is now a one-way communication portal) to influence the results of the poll?

    More likely the other way around. The poll is not something we need to influence – it’s an unscientific attention/readership building exercise whose purpose is to bring more readers to more substantial content on the site, such as the blog post in question, which allows Davis to explore the idea behind the poll in more depth.

    As a general concept, this is good – exactly what they should be doing with the polls, and a response to criticism we made of the first Afghanistan poll. That does not change that I disagree with Davis take on the subject; I wish he had pointed out that libertarians are far from being unanimous on the issue of the necessity of government. But, I’m glad that the subject is being discussed.

    As for them not allowing comments – that’s what we are here for.

  42. paulie cannoli Post author

    With no oversight it is inevitable companies will come together to create a more powerful organization.

    Far from it. Governments do far more to prop up businesses which are made inefficient by being too large than they do to break them up.

  43. paulie cannoli Post author

    Disagree? Well, good thing no one important gives a shit.

    Yeah, I disagree, but since you consider me unimportant, I won’t waste time explaining too much.

  44. paulie cannoli Post author

    It’s not obvious to me that corporations as we know them could even exist under anarchy in the absence of such government charters granting them limited liability and “corporate personhood.”

    It is fairly obvious to me that they could not. What we would see under anarchy would likely be an end to large concentrations of power in business as well as government, since the two prop each other up.

  45. paulie cannoli Post author

    The old an-cap/minarchist bickering again. The LP folk have been at it for 37 years, the libertarian movement in general for decades longer than that. I think, by now, everyone knows the argument will never end.

    I disagree. Chattel slavery, the divine right of kings, absolute patriarchy – many things were taken for granted for millenia, then debated hotly for a long time, and finally rejected by an overwhelming majority. I think that support for coercive territorial monopoly government will follow the same trajectory.

  46. paulie cannoli Post author

    linking to a wiki page is not particularly revealing as to where people have made errors.

    It can be, if you actually read the wiki page. At a minimum it would help the level of the argument if those arguing against anarchism were somewhat familiar with anarchist literature and how it has addressed frequent criticisms.

  47. paulie cannoli Post author

    I’ve read David Freidman…I’ve read Rothbard. Hell, I’ve read Spooner and Roderick Long and Bastiat and Hans-Herman Hoppe.

    Very good. This forms the basis for the possibility of productive discussion. I wish more people would.

  48. langa

    “So, I didn’t see a lot of errors there. And honestly, you need to address those errors, not just loftily tell people to go read a book. That’s not an argument.”

    I’ll answer arguments when I see some being made. Your phrasing of these arguments provides them with a lot more substance than they originally had, but they still amount to little more than assertions, and ones that have been answered many times in literature that any serious libertarian should have at least a passing acquaintance with.

    For example, given that war is a costly business, WHY would private “armies” bankrupt themselves by “wreaking havoc”?

    Or, given that the state collects the same amount of money regardless of how efficient that it is at defending property rights, HOW does giving it a territorial monopoly over the provision of defense increase the efficiency of property rights protection?

    In short, given that the state fails in EVERY OTHER AREA, why is this area any different?

    It seems to me that the burden of proof is clearly on those who subscribe to such a paradoxical conclusion.

    Finally, here’s another good article, where the author (Long) explains the theory, and then answers ten common objections:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/long/long11.html

    Of course, you’ll probably complain that you’re too lazy to read the article, but I’m too lazy to rehash everything that it says, so it’d be much easier if people would just read the article, then if you have any objections to it, I’d be happy to discuss it at some point.

  49. paulie cannoli Post author

    Ahh, you must mean that nation that harbored the 9/11 masterminds and perpetrators.

    They only asked for proof. No less than what the US regime would do for a foreign citizen under its own protection who were to be sought for extradition elsewhere.


    Yes, I did support going in there and getting them.

    Then by all means, please do. But I’m rather offended at any efforts to coerce me into paying for it, or having it done in my name.


    Past that, I didn’t say much.

    OK, then I’ll ask: do you support the continued US occupation of Afghanistan?

  50. langa

    “At a minimum it would help the level of the argument if those arguing against anarchism were somewhat familiar with anarchist literature and how it has addressed frequent criticisms.”

    Well said. I agree completely.

  51. paulie cannoli Post author

    langa:

    On the other hand, as much as the burden of proof should be on those who defend monopoly, in many ways it realistically is on us – since if the debate does not take place, they win by default.

    And as much as I like to use links and citations as a shortcut, I’m well aware from monitoring the stats at several websites that few people follow links. This is unfortunate, but understandable – if I were to spend any time arguing with a Marxist, for instance, I would have little inclination to read all the literature which I am sure she would be more than happy to link to.

    So, it’s a dilemma; I don’t like reinventing the wheel either – but I also have to deal with people’s unwillingness to study blueprints.

    RTFM is usually the right answer in theory, but far less often if you want anything in the manual to actually be implemented.

  52. langa

    You make some good points, Paulie. Believe it or not, I’ve actually gotten more patient and less rude over the years.

    When I was young, I was a total asshole, especially when it came to people that disagreed with me. Now, I’m just a semi-asshole! 🙂

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    The Dallas Accord was never all it was cracked up to be in the first place, but Davis’s column is just a reflection of the fact that it is dead and that the minarchist majority intends to take control of the party’s message from here on out. And who can blame them? Does anyone think the anarchists would have quailed from doing the same, given the opportunity?

  54. JimDavidson

    @28 I think you are assuming that people with money to invest in a free market stock market would do so if the system were loaded in favor of insiders. The thing about truly free markets is the ability of disaffected persons to form a new competing stock market, say, and meet corruption with sincerity, secrecy with sunshine.

    This fact is, indeed, one of the strongest criticisms of the monopoly of force concept that most people think of when they say “government.”

  55. JimDavidson

    @34 I think fascism (aka corporatism) is an economic policy, not a political philosophy, and not a form of government. It is an exceedingly poor economic policy, of course.

    Although it tends to officially include private ownership of property with government regulation of its uses, in practice the policy of fascism overwhelmingly favors the politically connected companies, to the point that innovation and competition are stifled. So, in operation, fascism discourages private property ownership and wealth creation.

    Which is not to say that it is impossible to accumulate wealth under a fascist economic policy. All kinds of pyramid schemes are possible. But are they worthwhile?

  56. JimDavidson

    @41 “I am resolutely anti-interventionist.”

    I did not know that, Mr. Druckenmiller. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

  57. JimDavidson

    @48 The perpetrators of 11-Sep-2001, the actual hijackers, are now dead. Various people who have recently pleaded guilty such as Khalid Sheikh Mohamed are presumably the masterminds, given that they claim or admit as much. Which does leave some thousands of Americans stationed in Afghanistan, today.

    What are they doing there, today?

    We know that in 2001 the Taliban government agreed to turn over Osama bin Laden, et al., if only the USA government would provide evidence that he was responsible for the 11-Sep-2001 attacks. For some reason, such data was not turned over. But, again, the Taliban government was ousted.

    So, what, exactly, in your anti-interventionist foreign policy view, is the USA military doing with thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan? Nation building? Providing…food aid?

  58. Vindex

    Anarchists are intellectually dishonest, especially when it comes to the founding of our nation. The Founding Fathers were not anarchists, nor did they intend for this country to be founded on anarchy or whatever label you ascribe to the “absence of government.”

    If the Libertarian Party is supposed to be about reviving the vision of our founding fathers, or upholding the Constitution, then Anarchists are in the wrong party.

  59. G.E.

    Does anyone think the anarchists would have quailed from doing the same, given the opportunity?

    Yes. I do. I think virtually all anarchists are totally welcoming of TRUE minarchists — not hardcore statists like the LPHQ cabal, but TRUE minarchists who believe the state’s role should be limited to police, courts, and military defense.

  60. G.E.

    Vindex – Support? You mean, financially or morally? If you’re asking about the latter, then obviously the answer is none. I don’t know why you’re asking.

  61. hogarth

    Knapp: Does anyone think the anarchists would have quailed from doing the same, given the opportunity?

    GE: Yes. I do. I think virtually all anarchists are totally welcoming of TRUE minarchists…

    Those in the LP, certainly. Those who eschew electoral activity, it’s not so clear. But we’re talking about within the LP, of course.

    I actually suspect Davis’ mistake was a combination of poor logic and writing, combined with a lack of historical understanding of the relationships between voluntaryists (I’m tired of the word anarchy just now) and minarchists.

    What will be telling is if those who ought to know better fail to take some corrective action, and let Davis’ addition to the platform (because that is what we’re talking about here, I believe) stand.

    I understand the argument against micromanagement, but especially with someone who seems fairly new to the movement, I think there needs to be more ideological oversight, or else we have the situation where staff is essentially setting the LP’s policy. While that might be fine for procedural issues like ballot access, etc., I don’t think it’s fine for ideological issues.

  62. mscrib

    @51

    I would be scared to death if state-protected property rights vanished overnight, and rightly so.

    Personally, I think D. Friedman has far better arguments for a stateless society than Rothbard because he doesn’t waste time with all the moral garbage–and The Machinery of Freedom is probably my favorite “libertarian” book–but there is a reason why property rights are the last thing I want to see weakened. In fact, I would argue that the government needs to strengthen said protections at this point in time.

  63. paulie cannoli Post author

    The Dallas Accord was never all it was cracked up to be in the first place, but Davis’s column is just a reflection of the fact that it is dead and that the minarchist majority intends to take control of the party’s message from here on out. And who can blame them? Does anyone think the anarchists would have quailed from doing the same, given the opportunity?

    It depends on the anarchists in question.

    Speaking for myself, yes. There are not enough anarchists – we need all the help we can get.

  64. paulie cannoli Post author

    Anarchists are intellectually dishonest, especially when it comes to the founding of our nation.

    Not I, nor many other anarchists. Please don’t characterize too broadly.


    The Founding Fathers were not anarchists, nor did they intend for this country to be founded on anarchy or whatever label you ascribe to the “absence of government.”

    I haven’t claimed they did. Nor do I particularly care. Many of them did not believe in freeing the slaves, and few if any believed in rights for women, alternative sexual orientations, etc. Most states had state churches, although they opposed a federal church establishment.

    I’m not interested in bringing back the 18th century, or some sanitized version of it; I’d like to move forward, not back.


    If the Libertarian Party is supposed to be about reviving the vision of our founding fathers, or upholding the Constitution, then Anarchists are in the wrong party.

    That’s a big if. I do not believe that is what the party should be about, nor do I see anywhere in the membership pledge, statement of principles, or any other cannon that this is what it is supposed to be about.

    There is in fact a party dedicated to “reviving the vision of our founding fathers, or upholding the Constitution,” and that is the Constitution Party. If anyone is in the wrong party, it is those who wish to turn the Libertarian Party into that.

  65. paulie cannoli Post author

    I understand the argument against micromanagement, but especially with someone who seems fairly new to the movement, I think there needs to be more ideological oversight, or else we have the situation where staff is essentially setting the LP’s policy. While that might be fine for procedural issues like ballot access, etc., I don’t think it’s fine for ideological issues.

    It may be fine in theory for ballot access, but in practice is equally onerous.

  66. paulie cannoli Post author

    I would be scared to death if state-protected property rights vanished overnight, and rightly so.

    I grant that if it were in fact to happen overnight, a period of chaos would result. I’m not sure it can be done, but I would like to dismantle the state in an orderly fashion while gradually replacing it with voluntary institutions over a period of time, to minimize that chaos.

    But, even if the process is extremely chaotic and causes a lot of short-term damage, I believe we will be much better off in the long run.

  67. mscrib

    There is in fact a party dedicated to “reviving the vision of our founding fathers, or upholding the Constitution,” and that is the Constitution Party. If anyone is in the wrong party, it is those who wish to turn the Libertarian Party into that.

    Hear, hear! I don’t libertarianism has, nor should have, much to do with reverting to 18th century America.

  68. mscrib

    @78

    I think this is perhaps possible in the long-run. I’m not (currently) an anarchist because I’m convinced we’d be worse off.

    Now, if our society progresses to a point where any government involvement (including property rights) by its very nature begins to prevent overall societal progress, I’ll be on board. I can’t really imagine what this would look like (some super-high-tech mechanisms that make state property rights redundant and burdensome???), but I’m certainly not morally opposed to this anarchist outcome if it satisfies a utility maximization principle.

  69. hogarth

    It may be fine in theory for ballot access, but in practice is equally onerous.

    Point. Bad example :-/

  70. Steven Druckenmiller

    I’m rather offended at any efforts to coerce me into paying for it, or having it done in my name.

    I’m not your Congressman.

  71. Melty Rox

    Thanx JimDavidson for responding to my question. I ask, not out of assumption, but because I don’t know much.

    What’s to stop, say, some billionaire from driving up the price on a commodity by buying up a huge amount of it?

  72. G.E.

    Melty Rox – Driving up the price to what end? To later resell at a higher price? That makes no sense. For he wouldn’t be able to do so profitably since people weren’t willing to pay a higher price before (which is why he was able to get the goods in the first place). What is your suggestion? That price controls and/or buying limits are imposed? Or that people are proactively prevented from accumulating a certain amount of wealth?

  73. mscrib

    Melty Rox,

    A one-time purchase really wouldn’t have much of an affect on long-run price. However, if this billionaire acted on the supply side and started monopolizing the production of whatever commodity, then it’s bad and it happens–like De Beers did until extremely recently.

  74. kiddleddee

    @87 – And what commodity did De Beers monopolize? It was not a commodity that very many people want or need and certainly not a “consumable” commodity which needs to be purchased regularly even by those few who wanted it. So what if De Beers monopolizes such a limited commodity. Hasbro once had the monopoly on hula-hoops, too. In both cases, the market has done a phenomenal job in creating and marketing creditable substitutes.

  75. G.E.

    mscrib – The DeBeers monopoly did not come into being under a free market or anything close to it. Force and coercion were used.

    THINK ABOUT IT: If I start buying up all of a commodity, how can I hope to sell it back at a profit later? I was only able to get it in the first place by paying higher price than people were willing to pay. If I’m predicting that they’ll pay more in the future, then I’m taking a risk. That’s what capitalism is all about.

  76. mscrib

    @91

    1) The market for diamonds is much larger than the market for Hula Hoops.

    2) De Beers’ past behavior did influence prices to the detriment of consumers.

    3) De Beers no longer has its former near-monopoly position and the market has since improved (especially given the recent massive surge in demand and the huge supply constraints).

    4) Competition is good.

  77. mscrib

    G.E.,

    You’re absolutely right. De Beers was excellent at rent-seeking. That doesn’t really change the fact that it was behaving as a monopolist. But I don’t disagree with your objection to Melty Rox’s logic. My scenario was talking about supply, Melty Rox’s was about demand.

  78. G.E.

    To the detriment of consumers? That’s entirely subjective and arrogantly presumptive. I can make two arguments that DeBeers served consumers. 1) Higher prices made the diamonds more valuable to consumers who prize them simply because they’re valuable; 2) It may have priced some people out of the market for diamonds, thereby prompting the development of substitutes (like cubic zirconia or maybe even FOOD for their family).

  79. mscrib

    This is standard economic reasoning. Lower prices = better, provided they represent the competitive price. When things have a lower price, consumers can buy more… economics assumes more = better, remember?

  80. G.E.

    That’s just not true. Lower prices are not always better. Anyone with any studying of the real market under his belt would know this — particularly when it comes to things like diamonds. There are textbook cases of a jewelry store doubling its prices and getting more sales based on perceived value. And the economics I study tells me two things: 1) Value is subjective (supporting point #1), and 2) economic resources are scarce; thereby allocation of scarce resources is the name of the game (point #2).

  81. G.E.

    Buy “more” what? What they want is perceived value. If the price of diamonds was a penny per ton, I wouldn’t care that I could have more of them and neither would anyone else. All of the allure would be gone. You’re defeated.

  82. mscrib

    There are textbook cases of a jewelry store doubling its prices and getting more sales based on perceived value.

    Perhaps, but informed consumers go to the store down the street and pay market price. This example says nothing about the market for diamonds.

    Value is subjective

    Yes, it is. But most things aren’t priced according to your individual willingness to pay.

    economic resources are scarce; thereby allocation of scarce resources is the name of the game

    Yes, markets allocate scarce resources efficiently. This allows for more consumption than when resources are allocated inefficiently. Consumption is generally how economists measure how well off people are.

  83. Melty Rox

    Just wondering about the problem of manipulation in the investment world. Some governments, big companies and rich individuals do it (like say maybe this Madoff guy for example). Often manipulation is done in collusion with government, even though the government has regulations against it. I suppose if things were operating transparently, the neferious wouldn’t interfere, but it’s not, so they sometimes succeed in overriding free-market forces for a long while. I just don’t know how this is best prevented.

  84. G.E.

    Yes, but “how much” is consumed is subjective. You can’t compare a diamond to a clock radio, nor two different sneakers to one another. Am I “better off” if I buy two pairs of Voits instead of one pair of vintage Air Jordans? That’s not for you to say. And if buying a double-priced diamond makes me feel better than a half-priced one, then again, that’s not for you to say.

    You’ve conveniently ignored the other factor I proposed: higher prices lead to the development of lower-priced substitutes. Some people would be nearly as happy with a Diamondique, and happier, with price considered. Who’s to say if Diamondiques would have been developed if DeBeers didn’t artificially push the price of diamonds higher.

    The case for anti-trust regulations and other “oversight” is entirely, 100%, absolutely without any reasonable basis.

  85. mscrib

    Buy “more” what? What they want is perceived value. If the price of diamonds was a penny per ton, I wouldn’t care that I could have more of them and neither would anyone else. All of the allure would be gone. You’re defeated.

    The allure of diamonds for personal consumption is in part based on their scarcity. But you’re switching logical steps. They aren’t scarce because they’re priced high, they’re priced high because they’re scarce. The price reflects this (in a competitive market). De Beers didn’t create this scarcity, but when it was a monopoly, it priced above what a competitive market would have priced by restricting output below equilibrium and building massive inventories.

  86. G.E.

    Melty – There would be crooks under anarcho-capitalism, but there are crooks under the state too. The same amount of crookery cannot be faulted to anarcho-capitalism, but I strongly believe there would be far less. Take the Madoff incident you mentioned: there are so, so many layers of statism involved in this case that it is safe to say that the exact same thing could not happen under anarcho-capitalism. Let’s just take a basic one, though: all of these SEC regulations give people a false sense of confidence. If there were no state, there’d be no SEC. There would be PRIVATE regulatory bodies that hedge-fund managers (assuming there were even such a thing) could subscribe to voluntarily, and unlike the SEC, these private regulators would be subject to competition. If they let scammers get away, then the value of their “seal of approval” would plummet and they’d lose business. Smart people would only invest with companies that had reliable and trusworthy regulation, or else they’d know that they were taking outsized risks.

  87. mscrib

    You’ve conveniently ignored the other factor I proposed: higher prices lead to the development of lower-priced substitutes.

    That’s the argument for increasing the price of gas through taxation in order to spur “green collar jobs” or whatever.

    Some people would be nearly as happy with a Diamondique, and happier, with price considered. Who’s to say if Diamondiques would have been developed if DeBeers didn’t artificially push the price of diamonds higher.

    It’s not like De Beers’ monopoly status resulted in the full price of diamonds. It was a component and an unnecessary one. If there was a draw function to comments, I’d draw the welfare triangles.

    The case for anti-trust regulations and other “oversight” is entirely, 100%, absolutely without any reasonable basis.

    I largely agree. Anti-trust laws and litigation is too short-sighted.

  88. G.E.

    But you’re switching logical steps. They aren’t scarce because they’re priced high, they’re priced high because they’re scarce.

    No, it’s you who’s switching logic mid-stream. Your argument is that they’re priced high because DeBeers charges “high” prices for them (i.e., what the market will bear). I clearly acknowledge that they’re value is based on their scarcity, which is why I propose the idea of what if they were no longer scarce. If you could buy a barrel full of diamonds for $1, they’d have essentially no value. Would we be “better off” based on this? Of course not.

  89. G.E.

    That’s the argument for increasing the price of gas through taxation in order to spur “green collar jobs” or whatever.

    No it’s not. You’re the one who seems to be advocating statist intervention. But there is truth in what you say: if government REPEALED the subsidies to the “unclean” energy industry, alternatives would emerge. This is an economic fact. Your association of this evident economic logic with left-environmentalism is very lame. Do you deny that high prices prompt the development of cheaper alternatives? That’s Econ 101, sonny.

  90. redgar

    Why are the anarchists always at the minarchists throat? Are we really that different?

    I believe that government sole function should be to protect rights. This belief became even more solidified after reading Hernando DeSoto’s The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. I do understand the anarchist proposition that much of this could be provided by private parties, but at a minimum a standard set of rules needs to be agreed upon by all. How do we go from the complete lack of property rights (because of little government involvement) to prosperity in Africa without government setting up a framework and enforcing contracts?

    Does having a disagreement on the level of government involvement needed really disqualify me from calling myself a libertarian?

  91. mscrib

    G.E.,

    For diamonds: There is a profit-maximizing monopoly price and output. There is a profit-maximizing competitive price and output. Monopoly price > Competitive price, Monopoly output quantity > price under current competition conditions. Your fears of a collapsing diamond market are not based in reality. To say that De Beers was doing consumers a favor by acting a a monopolist is ridiculous.

  92. mscrib

    @106

    G.E.,

    I just want prices and output determined in a semi-competitive marketplace. I’m not advocating for state intervention. But that doesn’t mean I need to believe monopoly results in the optimal outcome. It means I think government intervention would result in a worse outcome than the monopoly outcome.

  93. hogarth

    I just want prices and output determined in a semi-competitive marketplace.

    Why not fully competitive?

    I’m not advocating for state intervention. But that doesn’t mean I need to believe monopoly results in the optimal outcome. It means I think government intervention would result in a worse outcome than the monopoly outcome.

    From what you’ve written, I’m unclear on whether you’re advocating state intervention.

    Regardless, the only real monopoly is one that is enforced by coercion – and we all know what the biggest organized aggressor is – the state. Asking he state to ‘break up monopolies’ is like asking the proverbial fox to babysit the little chickies.

    Poor chicks!

    In fact, the state is a great -creator- of monopolies and cartels. Look at the AMA, state-protected unions, state schools (and educator licensing), and many other examples. Regulation – including ‘safety’ regulation is typically written by lobbyists for large companies and serves the purpose of excluding smaller competitors by increasing the regulatory burden.

    If you don’t like monopolies, don’t support the state!

  94. Steven Druckenmiller

    And if buying a double-priced diamond makes me feel better than a half-priced one, then again, that’s not for you to say.

    The hell it isn’t. Just because I don’t want the state to get involved doesn’t preclude me from calling you a moron.

    Kinda like how those iPhone people bought a 1000-dollar red light…because it was 1000-dollars? That’s idiocy. I don’t have a problem saying that to you.

  95. Steven Druckenmiller

    If you don’t like monopolies, don’t support the state!

    What if you think the monopolization of force in a given area is a foregone conclusion? Is it OK to support a certain kind of state over whatever terrible thing will fill that vacuum?

  96. mscrib

    @110

    Why not fully competitive?

    I said semi-competitive because perfect competition cannot be sustained in a lot of industries.

    From what you’ve written, I’m unclear on whether you’re advocating state intervention.

    I’ve been saying monopolies reduce consumer welfare. I didn’t say enforcing anti-trust regs is the solution. This shouldn’t be controversial…

    I also said that De Beers was a successful rent-seeker, as are many monopolies. That was not some sort of defense of the role of the state in creating and sustaining monopolies.

    I support eliminating most functions of the state. However, I think the protection of persons and property, having a legal system are still legitimate, useful, beneficial functions to be handled by the state.

    Tyler Cowen wrote some articles on the economics of anarchy back in the early ’90s responding to David Friedman. I find his conclusions pretty convincing. And I would certainly never walk down the path of defending anarchism from a natural rights-based moral perspective.

  97. Steven Druckenmiller

    I think the protection of persons and property, having a legal system are still legitimate, useful, beneficial functions to be handled by the state.

    Oh, now you did it. G.E.’s gonna call you a commie.

  98. hogarth

    What if you think the monopolization of force in a given area is a foregone conclusion?

    But I don’t. I’m not meaning to be unhelpful or flippant, but I really can’t answer this question, I think. It’s like asking me if I think death is inevitable, why don’t I spend time picking out the ‘best’ way to go? Because I’m too worried about *living*!

    Is it OK to support a certain kind of state over whatever terrible thing will fill that vacuum?

    What makes you so sure that the thing that fills the vacuum must be terrible?

    Sometimes I think the greatest enemy of liberty is fear.

    Othertimes I *know* it is.

  99. hogarth

    And I would certainly never walk down the path of defending anarchism from a natural rights-based moral perspective.

    Really? Why not?

  100. G.E.

    To say that De Beers was doing consumers a favor by acting a a monopolist is ridiculous.

    You can say that. But you’ve provided no evidence to support that blind statement, nor contradicted my evidence to the contrary. Of course, I’m against DeBeers and I’ve said that they were only able to achieve their monopoly with the aid of the government, so the argument is theoretical. You’re building a straw man by alleging I’m pro-monopoly — I’m anti-monopoly, which is why I’m anti-state! My point is that in a free market, monopolies are impossible, and even if something similar to DeBeers did arise, it would not be oppressive in any way.

    You still haven’t addressed the fact that high prices prompt the development of affordable substitutes. Your only response to this was to slur me as a “leftist” (how absurd) by comparing that fact to liberal environmentalism.

    Druckenmiller: You are a moron. You could not even begin to follow the level of argument mscrib and I are engaging in. Stick your head in an oven, please.

  101. Melty Rox

    Thanx, Globalist Elitist, for the perspective on bigtime investment crooks.

    …one last question…
    Are private regulators just an idea or are they, or have they been, at it regulating somewhere?

  102. mscrib

    G.E.,

    Monopoly outcome, regardless of the circumstances, is worse than if a competitive market existed in its place. However, natural monopolies are still possible (as are duopolies and oligopolies) sans government intervention due to the types of costs faced by potential market entrants.

    You’re right that high prices do incentivize R&D into alternatives. This is good. This doesn’t change the fact that price-setting by a firm is not good because monopolies have an incentive to exploit their position.

  103. G.E.

    Melty Rox – Private regulators exist right now. Underwriters Laboratory, the New York Stock Exchange, the Better Business Bureau, and a bunch more. Their role is diminished by the state, of course, but they would take on a role of much greater prominence in the absence of the state — assuming people wanted them to (which I think is a fair assumption… And if they didn’t, then who is the government to impose it on them?).

    There are probably much better examples past and present than I’ve listed.

    One from the past: Some sort of credit-rating, contract-enforcing agency, completely stateless and with no coercive backing (not even retalitory force; only shunning) basically regulated international commerce for decades. Someone will know what it was called.

  104. G.E.

    mscrib – I still do not accept your argument. Monopolies can only charge what the market will bear. If they charge “too high” a price, this will lead to the development of substitutes which will take away their market power. More likely, the monopolists will be unable to prevent entry into the field without the state, and thus, once high prices are being paid, other entrants will get into the market. The only way a business can survive in a free market, no matter how big, is to serve customers. Also, the history of quasi-monopolistic firms (those operating largely without state backing, at least) shows a tendency to increase production and LOWER prices, not the other way around. This is irrefutable, and your example of DeBeers is flawed for several reasons I’ve outlined.

  105. Steven Druckenmiller

    You are a moron. You could not even begin to follow the level of argument mscrib and I are engaging in. Stick your head in an oven, please.

    Aww, does this mean we aren’t friends? For what it’s worth, I agree with both of you, anyway. Monopolies can and do exist for the short term and they do reduce overall welfare during their existence, but they generally do not last without state force or intervention to protect them.

    Where I would be concerned is, if the state collapsed tomorrow, would be for small-towns (or large cities, like NYC) who are, for all intensive purposes, at the mercy of one power company or one gas company for providing their utilities. There is a “common carrier” problem if the State just died tomorrow.

  106. Steven Druckenmiller

    I loves me the anarchists, I promise I do, but their “vision” is a religion. There will be a law-enforcing agent that has a monopoly over a given geographical area, or there will be war.

  107. Steven Druckenmiller

    paulie – what are the bandwidth costs for all the videos you post? Sometimes I feel like I don’t even need to go to youtube.

  108. JimDavidson

    Bandwidth for IPR of an embedded video? Essentially zero. Your browser is going to Youtube to suck in the embedded video.

  109. Steven Druckenmiller

    Oh, interesting, I did not know that. Thanks!

    So, the “embed” is essentially just a link with an interface? Does that mean that the play button is actually a link that connects to YouTube?

  110. JimDavidson

    @67 “If the Libertarian Party is supposed to be about reviving the vision of our founding fathers, or upholding the Constitution, then Anarchists are in the wrong party.”

    The LP is about liberty. It seems to me that if the USA goes politically toward the center, then if you want something like a restoration of the constitutional limits to power and enforcement of the bill of rights, you have to move that to the center.

    Which means someone has to take up a more extreme position. If you don’t want it to be the LP, perhaps the BTP will do.

    As long as restoring the constitutional limits to power seems like an extreme position, it won’t be where the country goes. You need the anarchists to make a limited government seem moderate.

  111. JimDavidson

    @85 What’s to stop other people from driving the price down by selling a lot of it?

    Suppose the price of a commodity rises a great deal. What does that do to supply? It stimulates supply. People who can convert to produce the expensive commodity do so. Soon there is an over abundance of supply, and the price drops again.

    You are proposing a question about what is regarded as monopoly or trust behavior. If you examine the existing monopolies and the historical ones, they all come about because of government intervention. A patent, a copyright, a grant of monopoly, a “public utility commission” or some other event or agency is used to fabricate the monopoly power.

  112. JimDavidson

    @131 Yes, I believe the content in the box is supplied by Youtube. If you look at the source code, that’s what it says it is doing. So the play button starts a more active connection between your browser and Youtube which sux in the video and plays it for you.

    Note that you pushing the play button does not affect someone else looking at the same page. So, it cannot be content served by IPR.

    I am curious about something, though. IPR used to have ads. Now it has none. What are the ad rates?

  113. paulie cannoli Post author

    @89 A classic question. My answer has always been yes.

    Mine hasn’t always been yes, but it sure is now.

    I am curious about something, though. IPR used to have ads. Now it has none. What are the ad rates?

    Dunno. I’m curious too.

  114. JimDavidson

    @91 Actually, de Beers does not monopolise the diamond market. They buy a huge amount of inventory every year and keep as much inventory off the market as they can, but they are constantly having to get governments to go to war, invade diamond rich countries, or having the CIA overthrow some country which is putting lots of “conflict diamonds” on the market, or make a film about how conflict diamonds are bad and therefore the world community should intervene to prevent people from using their property to be wealthy – because we know those West Africans are so much better off poor, right? Heh.

    The de Beers consortium has been forced to buy seabed mining companies which began to lift diamonds off the continental shelf where African rivers had washed diamonds out to sea. They’ve been at pains to find ways to differentiate natural diamonds from artificial ones, differences that can only be detected in artificial lighting. They’ve been trying to serial number diamonds with laser etching. Nothing is working.

    The only thing that keeps de Beers going is a willingness on the part of many governments to help them. Left alone, most of Africa, and many other parts of the world, would be much more prosperous.

  115. JimDavidson

    @100 I don’t think you understand what Madoff did. He did what the social security system does. He took investment dollars from new investors and used those dollars (just about all of them, except for a very small amount he kept) to pay “returns” to the old investors. This scheme, named for Charles Ponzi, depends on having an ever larger amount of new investor dollars to pay out to the increasing number of existing investors.

    Given what you have obviously observed about government managed markets being corrupt and allowing for the massive accumulation of ill gotten gains, why do you insist on thinking that the free market would be worse? What could possibly be worse than what you are seeing?

  116. JimDavidson

    @120 Yes, there are entirely private markets that are regulated by private entities.

    Check out Ian Grigg and his five party model some time for an illustration of the theory. There are a number of practical applications in operation today.

  117. JimDavidson

    @126 This behavior of removing things from the historical record is bizarre. How much more evidence do LP loyalists need to be convinced that the LP is authoritarian?

  118. Steven Druckenmiller

    is the USA military doing with thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan? Nation building? Providing…food aid?

    It cuts to the heart of whether we are responsible for what our government does or not. If we are responsible., then we the people are responsible to ensure that there is not a power vacuum in Afghanistan. If, on the other hand, our government’s only duty was to catch 9-11 masterminds and split, then we should have been out of there a long time ago.

    One of the reasons that a certain strain of libertarian blames America for everything bad is because it fits an anti-interventionist narrative: but for the United States involvement, the United States would never have problems abroad. It’s why certain libertarians are so beholden to the idea that the United States is @ fault for WWI and WWII, because putting the fault on United States foreign policy makes an argument for military isolationism very easy.

  119. Steven Druckenmiller

    How much more evidence do LP loyalists need to be convinced that the LP is authoritarian?

    Authoritarian only ever really applies to governments. I, for one, don’t mind a strong, central figure in private organizations. Not every LP member is an expert or understands the context in which meetings develop, but they feel the need to run their mouths about it and cause external drama anyway.

  120. JimDavidson

    The USA did not start WW1 or WW2. But the USA government is clearly responsible for the USA entering each of those wars.

    I did not get an answer to whether you feel the USA is responsible for establishing a stable government in Afghanistan. Would I be mistaken in supposing that this view is your position?

    The latest reports put bin Laden in Pakistan. Are you now prepared, at your anti-interventionist best, to overthrow the government of Pakistan in order to pursue “the bad guys” there? And, presumably, continuously occupy Pakistan until a stable government can be established?

    I don’t like the government of Hamid Karzai, but what makes you think it is my responsibility to stablise it in power in Afghanistan? I didn’t like the government of the Taliban, but it was clearly stable – it took a massive military intervention to overthrow it.

  121. JimDavidson

    Authoritarian is a description of political philosophy, as is libertarian. They are of course opposites.

    I think it is funny to watch you imagine a group of people who behave in authoritarian ways to ever be able to generate support from among libertarians for their party. And if they ever gained control of the government, what might we expect of these authoritarians? C’mon.

  122. Steven Druckenmiller

    I think it is funny to watch you imagine a group of people who behave in authoritarian ways to ever be able to generate support from among libertarians for their party.

    That’s because those libertarians are not principled libertarians. Libertarianism (for the thousandth time) is a philosophy about the government’s relationship to the people (and yes, that includes whether government should even exist). It is not a philosophy that governs, nor should govern, the actions of private businesses, organizations or political parties.

    A small, committed cadre of individuals is a lot more effective than a herd of cats, each one clawing at all the other’s faces about every little personal piece of drama. The LP is not, nor should be treated like, Sweet Valley High. Not everyone’s opinion is equal, rules are there for order, etc. etc.

  123. Steven Druckenmiller

    I did not get an answer to whether you feel the USA is responsible for establishing a stable government in Afghanistan. Would I be mistaken in supposing that this view is your position?

    Yes, because I don’t have a position. I lean against being responsible for establishing a government, but I switch day-to-day. After all, am I responsible for what my government does, or am I not?

    I don’t know.

  124. G.E.

    There will be a law-enforcing agent that has a monopoly over a given geographical area, or there will be war.

    Monopoly by force and slavery, or war… “There will either be darkness or a lack of light!” Druckenmiller is a miserable statist. I really wish these people would stop giving minarchy a bad name.

  125. G.E.

    Oh, interesting, I did not know that. Thanks!

    So, the “embed” is essentially just a link with an interface? Does that mean that the play button is actually a link that connects to YouTube?

    What a genius.

  126. Steven Druckenmiller

    GE @ 149 – great intellectual counterargument

    What a genius.

    Oh wow…I readily admit I don’t know things. Forgive me my human failings, o Lord, for I am but a humble sinner in Your eyes.

  127. Steven Druckenmiller

    Monopoly by force and slavery

    Interestingly enough, when I said “there will be a law-enforcing agent that has a monopoly over a given geographical area”, did I say anything about using force or slavery?

    Did I, G.E.?

  128. G.E.

    Again, your stupidity exposes itself. How the hell is a monopoly enforced but by force, genius? The state is by definition a territorial monopoly firm that murders or imprisons would-be competitors.

  129. hogarth

    There will be a law-enforcing agent that has a monopoly over a given geographical area, or there will be war.

    And… *with* this law-enforcement monopoly, there *is* no war? Color me skeptical.

    (‘war on drug users’ ring a bell?)

  130. Steven Druckenmiller

    How the hell is a monopoly enforced but by force, genius?

    By 100% consent-by-contract of all persons in that geographical area.

    Genius.

  131. Steven Druckenmiller

    And… *with* this law-enforcement monopoly, there *is* no war? Color me skeptical.

    Uh, an individual failing with a force-provider in a given area does not undermine the argument. It just provides an argument for smaller government.

    And please, you know what kind of war I am talking about…actual war, ma’am.

  132. Steven Druckenmiller

    How the hell is a monopoly enforced but by force, genius?

    Honestly, G.E., other than 100%-contracted-in-an-area, how did you see anarcho-capitalism playing out?

  133. Steven Druckenmiller

    Current:

    Do you believe there is a necessary and proper role for government in society?

    v.

    Old:

    Does government have a legitimate and necessary role in society?

    More pro-state? I don’t see it.

  134. hogarth

    Uh, an individual failing with a force-provider in a given area does not undermine the argument. It just provides an argument for smaller government.

    So we have your speculation about ‘war’ sans force-monopoly, against the proven institutionalized violence associated with every known force-monopoly.

    This is what I mean when I say that fear is freedom’s greatest enemy.

    And please, you know what kind of war I am talking about…actual war, ma’am.

    Well, not that wasn’t clear – I’m not sure what you mean by ‘actual war’.

  135. hogarth

    More pro-state? I don’t see it.

    I wasn’t clear, sorry; I meant that aggregated *answers* were more pro-state int he first run of a nearly identical question.

    So the second one – run at the same time as Andrew Davis’ posting about the ‘necessary and proper’ role of government, is disappeared, and the older one is left.

    When I earlier asked Andrew what the purpose of the polls was, he said:

    “User interaction on the Web site, which increases Web traffic. Seldom it
    is to determine (unscientifically) to gauge what type of demographic is
    visiting.”

    This one seems to have certainly driven a lot of traffic to the site (I seem to recall over 2K responses!). Perhaps Andrew feels that removing ti will cause controversy which will drive even more traffic to the site.

  136. hogarth

    How much more evidence do LP loyalists need to be convinced that the LP is authoritarian?

    The LP is not Andrew Davis. Andrew Davis is not the LP.

  137. JimDavidson

    @163 So you think perhaps it is not LP policy to prevent LP members from commenting on blogs or seeing results of recent polls? These are just Davis policies?

    I’m game. So, move to have him fired.

  138. JimDavidson

    @147 That depends on whether it is your government by consent or by coercion. I didn’t consent to be governed.

  139. JimDavidson

    @146 No. Neither philosophy is limited in application to only regimes or governments.

    Authoritarian is and adjective meaning: “Characterised by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom.” Libertarian is an adjective meaning characterised by or favoring individual freedom as against obedience to authority.

    You believe that the libertarian in Libertarian Party only applies to whatever the government does, and, therefore, that a pusillanimous obedience to authority and hierarchy within the party is appropriate. Of course, I don’t agree.

    And, again, I really think it is very badly mistaken to suppose that very many committed, principled, enthusiastic libertarians are going to fall for this hierarchical authority stuff.

    Hogarth is still trying to come to grips with the fact that the LP is organised now on hierarchical and authoritarian grounds. It is sort of nice of you to concede the point, Mr. Druckenmiller.

  140. Steven Druckenmiller

    Hogarth is still trying to come to grips with the fact that the LP is organised now on hierarchical and authoritarian grounds. It is sort of nice of you to concede the point, Mr. Druckenmiller.

    I actually do not know nor do I care how the LP is run. What I care about is results. If the LP makes our government more libertarian by keeping executive sessions an absolute secret and Bill Redpath runs things with an iron-fist concerning party discipline and staying on message, great! If that doesn’t work, I won’t vote for him the next time it comes around to a vote.

    If things get to the point where they piss me off regularly or results are not forthcoming, I’ll leave.

    Like I said, the LP can run itself like the Communist Party for all I care, as long as government gets more libertarian.

  141. JimDavidson

    @167 And, um, has the government gotten more libertarian? Redpath has had a bit of time in the seat. I think his lack of results speak for themselves.

  142. G.E.

    Brian: Where is this 8% number on your page? The 1998 (off year) convention? Ten years old? Or something else. If it’s from ’08, I certainly wasn’t surveyed. With a total count of fewer than 700, I don’t think there is much of a case to be made for a sampling and I’d be interested to see the methodology.

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