Libertarian National Committee Chair statement on FY10 budget passage

Press release posted at LP.org. Reposted to IPR by Paulie.



WASHINGTON – Libertarian National Committee (LNC) Chair William Redpath released the following statement Friday concerning the passage of a $3.5 trillion budget by Congress last night:

“Yesterday’s passage of a $3.5 trillion budget, stuffed full of wasteful and unconstitutional spending and funded by prosperity-killing tax hikes and deficits, will drive up inflation and is a defeat for families, taxpayers and employers.”

“This budget not only racks up unsustainable levels of spending, it burdens our already-suffering economy by running a $9.3 trillion cumulative deficit over 10 years – three times higher than the deficits run up by George W. Bush.”

“The measure also contains troubling provisions that could expand government control of health care and install a so-called “cap and trade” system that is actually a $646 billion national tax on consumers that drives up the cost of utility bills and will destroy jobs in the midst of an economic recovery.”

“The Libertarian Party will continue to fight to elect candidates who will vote only for budgets that adhere to constitutional restraints and sound economics. Libertarians support a budget that authorizes only essential, constitutionally-authorized programs funded only by minimal taxation.”

“That is the policy that at one time made our United States the most prosperous and free nation the world has known. It is the only realistic and sustainable policy to restore our prosperity and liberty.”

For more information on this issue, or to arrange an interview with the Libertarian Party, please call Director of Communications Donny Ferguson at 703-200-3669, 202-333-0008, x. 225, or email Donny.Ferguson@lp.org.

245 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee Chair statement on FY10 budget passage

  1. Susan Hogarth

    Libertarians support a budget that authorizes only essential, constitutionally-authorized programs funded only by minimal taxation.

    Wow. THIS Libertarian supports no such thing.

    I wish Bill would read the Platform, where it says “All efforts by government to redistribute wealth, or to control or manage trade, are improper in a free society.”

    There is already a Constitution Party. The LP is not it.

  2. Michael H. Wilson

    Well let’s point out that we need to bring some 250,000 troops home who are stationed in some 130 and save about $150 billion annually. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and save another ton of money. Stop the drug War and save $50 billion annually. End corporate welfare and save $100 billion annually. End agricultural subsidies and save $50 billion annually.

    I could go on and on. As they say the devil is in the details. And by the way if you did not have the government taking Social Security, Medicare and Medicade out of your pay check how much more would wou have?

    And I’ll toss a bone to those who are not so radical as I. To keep the Social Security, Medicare tax revenue neutral and abolish the cap, that is tax everyone’s income the same, i.e. Warren Buffet types, what would the percentage be? How much money would that put back in the hands of American workers who are going to spend it on goods and services everyday?

    Just a thought.

    MW

  3. George Phillies

    “wasteful and unconstitutional ” Right-wing ranting language.

    They claim that the current half-wit budget lunacy is “unconstitutional” is a far-right-wing lying point. Stupid, yes. Dangerous, yes. Risking collapse of the Federal financial system, yes. Unconstitutional, not until someone repeals the lead power of Congress.

    Lining up the Libertarian Party as the party of the far right wing hurts our party.

    George Phillies

    P.S. Paulie, it might be of some interest to know which 80% he is releasing.

  4. paulie Post author

    P.S. Paulie, it might be of some interest to know which 80% he is releasing

    True. It would be stupid and crazy of them to release the really dangerous criminals, but then again, this is government we’re talking about here.

  5. SSave our SStatism

    Phillies makes a good point:


    “wasteful and unconstitutional ” Right-wing ranting language.

    They claim that the current half-wit budget lunacy is “unconstitutional” is a far-right-wing lying point.

    I don’t know about this “right wing”/”left wing” stuff; a bird of prey like our American Eagle needs two wings to fly proudly.

    One thing I do know is that Congress can spend as much money as it wants for anything whatsoever, and the Constitution does not limit that in any way, shape or form. The Constitution exists to give power to the government, not to take it away.

    Power to the Politicians!

    SSave our SStatism!

  6. SSave our SStatism

    Capozzi also makes a good point:

    It depends on your definintion of “redistribution,” yes?

    Ask the Somalians killed by the Ethiopians for a definition.

    Redistribution is a good thing, Susan.

    Governments which redistribute their subjects’ wealth always succeed in protecting their subjects from being killed by other governments.

    You’d have to be pretty ignorant of history not to know that.

    Power to the Politicians!

    SSave our SStatism!

  7. Robert Capozzi

    PC, currently, although it appears the Ethiopians got out a few months ago.

    Point is, I’m not sure that “redistribution” entails baseline peacekeeping mechanisms to maintain domestic tranquility. Using the Constitution’s language to roll back the State seems an excellent, accessible means to agitate.

    Obscure, theoretical constructs? Not so much.

  8. Geoffrey

    Good day:

    I do not see a conflict with your USLP’s press release and their platform plank dealing with taxes:

    2.4 Government Finance and Spending
    All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution. We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes.

    We here at the LPUK and other LP’s throughout the world all agree with the above. We all work to “minimalize” taxes in each of our own nations, promoting cost cutting, balanced budgets, and so forth.

    Your country, like ours and others, have a so called constitution that authorizes various spending and raising of certain funds. First we must make sure our respective governments honor those documents and do not exceed their authority like your government has been doing lately with those bailouts. I believe this is what your USLP is simply saying. Then once we limit, then we can work on eliminating and changing the laws and structure of government. Remember, we must take small steps to get from here to there and not radical large leaps if we wish people to take us seriously.

    Top of the day, must feed the pups now.

    Geoffrey

  9. paulie Post author

    Point is, I’m not sure that “redistribution” entails baseline peacekeeping mechanisms to maintain domestic tranquility.

    Taking money from people by force or threat of force = redistribution.

  10. Geoffrey

    Folks,

    I do want to make one more point (off topic perhaps). Libertarianism is a worldwide movement. You neither hold ownership over its principles, nor obviously is your USLP the most successful. Partido Movimiento Libertario de Costa Rica (Libertarian Movement Party of Costa Rica or PML) holds over 10% of the seats in the Asamblea Legislativa (the Costa Rican congress) and received almost 10% in the last presidential election. Perhaps all of us need to take a lesson or two from our most successful brethren. Reading up on the PML, they did not get where they are today by “educating” the public and taking or suggesting radical large leaps, they did it by running for and winning elections and showing how they can make a difference in their constituents every day lives.

    We here in the UK “own” (for lack of a better word) the Grand Cayman’s. Our government recognizes that we must give “special” treatment to this protectorate to keep it within our UK family including giving its residence tax exemption status. In other words they pay no income taxes (and have very low VAT or sales tax as well, even by your US standards). Hong Kong is another example where even in communist China, capitalism gets a special exemption. Many other nations have resorted to creating tax free havens and offering other economic benefits to encourage commerce and redevelopment.

    So I ask you, why I have I not heard from any Yanks about creating a “special economic” zone for say Detroit? Why doesn’t your US Government and your State of Michigan say any person or business in the “zone” of Detroit is now exempt from both state and federal income and sales taxes? Think what that would do for that city and your nation? Surely it would cost much less than the trillions spent on bail outs? I would encourage you yanks to get out of the loo and do something!

    Thank you again and I look forward to your responses?

    Geoffrey

  11. Robert Capozzi

    PC, it’s not “welfare,” not a “transfer payment.”

    Justice and defense are different things. They benefit all (or virtually all, including the takee).

    This is aside from the NIoF argument. Taxes ARE initiation of force. The funds for justice and defense are (or should be) intended to protect and defend all, not to give money to the less fortunate.

    Even if you view members of the military, cops, prosecutors and judges as “parasites,” they do a job to (in theory) maintain domestic tranquility. Therefore, it’s not a “transfer payment,” which doesn’t involve a labor-for-compensation transaction.

    Clear?

  12. paulie Post author

    Geoffrey,

    I’ve long proposed that the solution to DC’s problem – “taxation without representation” – be a moratorium on federal taxation. The same can be done for Detroit, other cities, and even the whole country.

  13. paulie Post author

    They benefit all (or virtually all, including the takee).

    Whether they benefit me should be for me to decide. I don’t think they do.

    But regardless of whether you think it is right, or necessary, or inevitable, it’s still a form of redistribution – taking from some and giving to others.

    Nor is this the only form of government monopoly “authorized” by the constitution. For example, there is no libertarian theory that I know of which justifies a postal monopoly, yet it is authorized constitutionally.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    Geoffrey, enterprise zones, tax holidays, and such have been bouncing around in wonkville for decades. Good ideas, surely. Obama would term such ideas the “failed ideas of the last 8 years.” Most Ds and many Rs believe they can target and mandate relief for parts of the economy that appear pronouncedly dysfunctional. For them, “relief” means “government control or facilitation,” not “tax relief.”

    Such is the state of affairs here in the Colonies.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    PC, I guess I didn’t make myself clear.

    You can attempt to redefine “redistribution” to be “anything that’s coercive,” but that’s not how the term is commonly understood.

    I’m not engaging the anarchist right to personal secession argument here. I’m just suggesting that calling functions like defense and justice are a different class of coercion.

    As you know, I favor your right to personally secede.

    http://www.freeliberal.com/blog/archives/003225.php

  16. paulie Post author

    You can attempt to redefine “redistribution” to be “anything that’s coercive,” but that’s not how the term is commonly understood.

    I’m just going by the definition you provided:

    in common usage, “redistribution” is taking from some and giving to others.

  17. Geoffrey

    Good people,

    It appears the PML has gone through much of what your USLP is gong through now.

    From their web site:

    “It is not enough to complain. We must act and compete to win political power so that we can regain control over our lives and realize the promise of freedom.”

    It appears many of you in the US like to “complain” too much. The PML apparently went through the same thing. In 2005, a dispute erupted between pragmatists and radicals within the party that led to the ouster of the more radical members. Despite this setback, PML continued to track along a course of “pragmatic libertarianism” that seeks to bridge the gap between ideology and practical political realities.

    Result: They won more elections, gained more seats, and went from less than 2% of the presidential vote in 2002 to almost 10% in 2006.

    Yes, much can be learned if we all emulate successes of other Libertarian Movements.

    Good evening,

    Geoffrey

  18. paulie Post author

    Geoffrey, from Wikipedia:


    The Partido Movimiento Libertario (“Libertarian Movement Party or PML”) is a political party based on the philosophies of libertarianism and classical liberalism in Costa Rica.

    It was founded in May 1994 and, since then, has enjoyed a number of victories. It succeeded in getting attorney Otto Guevara elected to the Legislative Assembly in its first campaign in 1998. In 2002, Guevara ran for president (unsuccessfully, 1.7% of the vote), and the party at the legislative elections won 9.3% of the popular vote and 6 out of 57 seats. A few weeks after taking office, one Congressman left the party and became independent, leaving PML with five seats. In 2006, Guevara again ran for president (unsuccessfully, 8.4% of the vote), and the party at the legislative elections won 9.1% of the popular vote and 6 out of 57 seats. The PML was an observer of the Liberal International or LI, and recently attained full status according to the LI website; so therefore it is also listed as a liberal party. Movimiento Libertario claims 81 people in public office nationwide.


    So, their representation in Congress did not increase, even after taking positions like supporting drug prohibition.

    I’ve read elsewhere that Costa Rica’s equivalent of the Republican or Conservative party collapsed right before the 2006 vote, and that the ML candidate was seen by some as a possible winner in the election.

    Thus, their turn toward “pragmatism” turned out not to be so pragmatic after all.

    Some extended discussion here:

    http://www.sunnimaravillosa.com/archives/00000384.html

  19. paulie Post author

    A judge works for his or her money. An AFDC recipient doesn’t.

    A workfare recipient works for his or her money.

    A bank robber works for his or her money, in a way.

    Someone digging holes and filling them up on the government dole works for his or her money.

    Bernie Madoff worked for his money.

    So did Charles Ponzi.

    If I come to your house and build you an ill-constructed porch that you didn’t ask for, and then charge you ten times what a good functional porch that people willingly pay for costs, and then demand money at gun point (or tell you I’ll come back with guns and friends with guns if you don’t pay up), I “worked for my money”.

    But that’s all besides the point.

    Even if I agree that a judge works for his money, it’s still taken from someone else to give to the judge – thus, redistribution under the definition you provided earlier.

  20. paulie Post author

    Since most people, unfortunately, don’t follow links….sorry for the long quote:

    …and they didn’t even get the votes
    February 6, 2006
    3:18 p.m., MT

    Yesterday the people of Costa Rica went to the polls to choose a new President, all 57 members of the Asamblea (congress) and members of the 81 city or county councils. Jacqueline has some good posts here, here, and here on the election overall.

    The vote for President is too close to call. We will probably have to wait for the official hand count of all the votes to know who will form the next government. As both men have very different policies I will delay an analysis of what the new president will mean for libertarians looking to Costa Rica as a possibly freer destination.

    To me, and many other libertarians, the performance of the Movimiento Libertario, the former Libertarian Party, is of great interest. As documented here and here the ML abandoned libertarian principles in favor of a pragmatic approach because, as Otto Guevara, the party’s presidential candidate, said “we need to be more moderate and move closer to the Costa Rican people if we are going to gain power.” Does abandoning principle “work”?

    To answer this question lets look at how the “radical” hard core ML performed four years ago. In 2002 the ML received 1.7% of the vote for President and 9.34% of the vote for the Asamblea, electing six Diputados (congressmen). To do this they spent a bit more than US$ 200,000 in privately raised funds, explicitly rejecting government funds as immoral.

    This time around, they spent roughly US$ 1,900,000 and accepted state funds. For President, Guevara received 8.4% of the vote (86.9% counted). For Diputado, the ML has received 9.08%. It seems that they have elected six, but one has a razor thin margin, which may just disappear when all the votes are counted. So far 83.4% have been processed.

    The source for the numbers above is el Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones. The TSE is the government body in charge of elections. The numbers on the web page are provisional. The official numbers will come out in about two weeks, after the hand count. A note on the web page: It can only be viewed in IE. I have tried Firefox and Opera, neither can read it.

    Internally, the ML was expecting 20% for both President and the Asamblea. This was widely leaked. On the 5th of January Otto said in an interview that they were going to get 23% or 24% for President and 12 to 19 seats in the Asamblea.

    Since changing direction they have gotten many public figures to join the party. Mostly from PUSC, which has self destructed (more on that below), and some from a couple of small moribund parties. The ML had a slogan “cada día somos más” (“every day we are more”). Well, yes, more of the same. More of the same tired old, corrupt politicians of always. And now they are in the ML. Instead of fresh new faces, with bold new ideas, they ended up with the same old, tainted faces, with a bunch of “moderate” (as they put it) proposals that sounded just like everyone else.

    Guevara and his group expelled the hard core libertarians, or as he called them “radicals”, from the party, saying that they were responsible for impeding the growth of the party. He said that by becoming “moderate” they would move closer to the Costa Rican people, thereby gaining many more votes.

    So, they abandoned ideology, purged the “radicals” from the party, spent 9.5 times what they did before, and came out slightly worse. Maybe significantly worse if the seat that is hanging by a thread is lost.

    Add to this that one of the two major parties, in fact the one currently in power, basically imploded. PUSC has been plagued by corruption scandals and the current President is very unpopular. Their Presidential candidate only received 3.4% of the vote. For the Asamblea they only received 7.6%. Yet the ML did not benefit from PUSC’s demise. Not a single seat. Can you imagine the Republican Party in the United States self destructing and the LP failing to gain anything from that?

    This was a clear abject failure. So much so that last night Guevara did not talk to the press. He only made a 15 minute speech and then left the election night party. Today he is nowhere to be seen. Contrast this with the 13 other Presidential candidates, some who did much worse numerically. All of them are talking to the press, all of them are participating in the analysis of the results. All except Guevara.

    What would have happened if the ML had remained hard core? We will never know the answer to this question, but I will offer a possible scenario.

    In September of 2004 I saw the results of an internal poll which said that the entire Libertarian message was very popular with 25% of the population. Many positions were supported by the majority of the people. The main problem seemed to be that the ML had not effectively communicated the message. For example 70% of the population was opposed to government funding of political campaigns. Yet only 15% was aware that the ML did not accept state funds. When speakers would talk to small groups of people, communicating a hard core message, they would get enthusiastic responses, including offers of help. The big challenge was figuring out how to package the message into 30 second TV spots and getting the funds to take it to the people.

    There were very creative people in the party. This problem was being addressed. If it had been solved, then a hard core ML would have elected 14 or 15 Diputados and been a significant force in the legislature. Possibly being able to advance Freedom a little bit. Sadly, we will never know.

    Jorge

    http://www.sunnimaravillosa.com/archives/00000607.html

  21. Gene Trosper

    @31

    Interesting. Perhaps that explains why they decided to remove my essay (which they translated into Spanish and used for outreach) from their website a couple years ago: it was too libertarian for them.

    http://freedomkeys.com/trosper.htm

    Too bad to hear what happened to them.

  22. paulie Post author

    New Low
    January 10, 2006
    5:46 p.m., MT
    http://www.sunnimaravillosa.com/archives/00000578.html
    An article(Spanish) in today’s La Nación talks about what the various political parties are promising to do about crime in Costa Rica. The “new” Movimiento Libertario, the supposed moderate Libertarians, are promising to make permanent the anti-drug police presence in neighborhoods and increase the number of jails.

    This should end any illusions held by Juan Carlos and others that the party is still Libertarian.

    Jorge

  23. paulie Post author

    Excerpts from interview with Otto Guevara of the Costa Rican ML in Reason magazine from 2003

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/33309.html


    Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, who was president from 1998 through 2002, was a kind of icon for classical liberals. But since becoming a diputado, and then president, he had been unwilling to pick a fight over state monopolies. The means, for him, became an end in itself.


    Well, in Costa Rica, we have a system of proportional representation, where, unlike the winner-take-all system in the United States, legislative seats are assigned commensurate with the number of votes a party gets. That was very important, because it let us get a foot in the door, it allowed us to get a representative with just a few percent of the vote. That first campaign was very door-to-door, very leaflet based.


    It helped that we got an incredible amount of press coverage. When we held our first press conference, before that election, almost nobody showed up. The moment of my election, we became a sort of obligatory font of information for journalists. We averaged about four mentions daily in the major papers. The ability to obstruct new legislation allowed me to permeate the public political debate.


    Also, it’s a norm in journalism that reporters are obligated to tell “both sides of the story.” Well, in a country where the two major parties were typically in favor of more government control, one side was always mine.


    The real benefit of having a political party is as a force for getting libertarian ideas into the public debate. It’s a standard school assignment in Costa Rica for students to research and do reports on the parties and presidential candidates. So we have teachers all over the country sending their kids to study our platform, to research the ideas of people like Mises and Hayek.


    In that case, we were tricked by someone who passed himself off as a libertarian in every detail. But he had another agenda. I expect that next time we’ll be a bit more careful about who runs under our banner.


    Few people read papers; fewer still read books. So since October, we’ve been airing a weekly prime time TV show, La Hora de la Libertad (The Hour of Liberty) from 8 to 9 on a channel with national coverage.


    The young are another key constituency. For one, they often have access to the Internet, through school, and so they have a sharper sense that the traditional way of doing things in Costa Rica isn’t the only way of doing things. They worry about whether the public pension system is going to be there when they’re older. The young are basically experiencing the collapse of the old system.


    One way we’ve really engaged the young is with the idea of self-ownership. Fashions like tattooing and piercing, these really indicate a tremendous degree of individualism. The core idea is that it’s your body to do with as you wish, to use as a means of self-expression. Sexual liberty, the freedom to use drugs, these are all areas where our position is appealing to the young.


    There’s also a huge, subterranean informal economy that’s opposed by the larger, established companies. So I became the defender of the informal sector, “el diputado pirata.” Someone wants to import and sell a used car… we said, “what’s the problem?” Used clothing, used shoes, these are big markets, and we thought it was absurd that there should be legal obstacles to people trading in these things. Libertarian ideas became associated, not with big capital, but with the right of poor people to work. That allowed us to do a kind of end-run around one sort of prejudice against our ideas.


    Movimiento Libertario was the first party to come out against the war, and others followed. The legislature ultimately passed a resolution supporting the war, but I think we also led many to question their support.


    I don’t see the major parties changing the winner-take-all, first-past-the-post voting system. So perhaps, as an America, I would explore something like Ron Paul’s strategy instead.

  24. Eric Dondero

    Bringing the Troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq could end up costing us far more $$$ and American lives, as the Islamo-Fascists bring the fight to our shores.

    Nightmare scenario: Mexican Drug Gangs, given safe passage to Islamic Radicals to attack American cities on the border: Brownsville, El Paso, Tucson, San Diego.

  25. susan Hogarth

    It depends on your definintion of “redistribution,” yes?

    No. Taxes are by definition redistributional. The *point* of taxation is redistribution – by force.

  26. susan Hogarth

    First we must make sure our respective governments honor those documents and do not exceed their authority like your government has been doing lately with those bailouts. I believe this is what your USLP is simply saying.

    And I don’t have any particular quarrel with that. But no LP leader should *propose* or *support* taxes.

  27. Michael Seebeck

    Earth to Dondero: the old “fight them there so we don’t fight them here” argument is full of more bullshit than a Chino feedlot. If they wanted to bring the fight here, they’ve had 7 1/2 years since 9/11 to do so, and they haven’t. If you think that’s because of our superb national security, then you’re on some seriously strong pharmaceuticals.

    If they did start to fight us here, they’d be getting stupid on us. As it is now, we fight them on their turf, giving them a home-field advantage. They’re not stupid and don’t want to give up that advantage. It worked so well for them with the Soviets, remember?

    The hubris here is in thinking we could do several thousand miles away what the Soviets couldn’t do on their back porch, just because we’re us and they’re them. We never learned their lessons.

  28. Mik Robertson

    @37
    Dictionary.com has these definitions of a tax:
    1. A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.
    2. A fee or dues levied on the members of an organization to meet its expenses.
    3. A burdensome or excessive demand; a strain.

    I suppose this does not mean a tax could not also be used for the redistribution of wealth. In the case of the federal government, taxes should be used to fund it’s limited operating costs. The limiting authorization is the constitution. This does not appear to be inconsistent with the release.

    The check on what is libertarian or not should be what will increase individual liberty.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp

    “A contribution for the support of a government required of persons, groups, or businesses within the domain of that government.”

    In other words, a redistribution of wealth from the pockets of the productive class to the pockets of the political class.

  30. Cork

    What the hell is up with the LP? Why don’t they focus on anything libertarians (as opposed to conservatives) actually care about? Yes, we all agree that Obama’s spending blows. We get it: the LP has told us this in practically every release and blog post for the past several months.

    There could not be a better time for a release on the drug war, or the Fed, or foreign policy, or civil liberties.

    What has the LP decided to focus on? Promoting Wayne Root’s appearance on Michael Savage’s show. Calling Glenn Beck a libertarian. Giving us unsolicited “updates” on anything Barr is saying or doing. Anyone else see a pattern? The Libertarian Party is the Republican Party, and a far more boring Republican Party at that.

  31. Cork

    “Libertarians support a budget that authorizes only essential, constitutionally-authorized programs funded only by minimal taxation”

    Guess what? That’s exactly what the Obamaites say their projects are.

    Hogarth is right: there’s already a Constitution Party. If only conservatives would join it instead of polluting libertarianism…

  32. Robert Capozzi

    Paulie, Susan, and Tom, you all seem to be saying that ALL taxes are “redistributed” from the productive classes to the political classes. Fair characterization?

    Ask yourselves, is it so?

    Currently, I’d suggest No, it’s not. In fact, virtually everyone gets at least some get their taxes back in some form…student loans, government schools, SS payments, driving on roads, not being invaded, violent criminals behind bars, etc.

    I certainly grant that there are “net tax payers” and “net tax consumers.” Netting things out, that IS a something like “redistribution,” although most view that as the “social safety net” type functions.

    Oversimplification of the tax dollar flows doesn’t ring true, certainly for me, and probably for the vast majority who are not anarchists, and who have benefited (they think!) from government programs.

    Personally, I DO take the point that the LP should not align too much with constitutional arguments. In part, I’d say the Constitution’s language can easily be read to allow for all sorts of coercive government action.

    For ex., I once asked Ron Paul how he justified his “strict non-interventionism” when the Constitution explicitly allows for treaties. I can’t recall his exact words, but I found his answer a weak one.

    As you three are self-identified anarchists, do you expect that we minarchists and lessarchists MUST adopt your paradigm in our public rhetoric? Are you going to always criticize us if we ever grant — implicitly or explicitly — that a State is likely to exist and that some of its functions (albeit smaller) are useful for the foreseeable future?

    If so, that seems to imply that the LP will be at constant internal “war.”

    Is that what you want? That anyone who calls themselves “L” MUST adopt your sense of “morality,” and all rhetoric must be couched in anarchist assumptions, explicitly or encoded, like the “Dallas Accord”?

    Do you find such an approach tiresome?

    I do.

  33. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Wealth isn’t just possession of stacks of Federal Reserve Notes, it’s control of those stacks of Federal Reserve Notes.

    Taxation is redistribution of wealth from the productive class to the political class.

    Yes, some of the money ends up back in the checking accounts of the productive class — after the political class has raked off a percentage and primped and preened a bit about how important it is and about how society couldn’t possibly function without it.

    If you find the approach of arguing about anarchism versus minarchism/lessarchism tiresom, then perhaps you should stop initiating such arguments in every goddamn thread of discussion you enter, no matter how irrelevant.

  34. Robert Capozzi

    tom, I don’t believe that disagreements should be swept under the rug. Susan @1 comment about “redistribution” IMO opened the anarcho/minarcho/lessarcho wound.

    That line of analysis is anarchist, IMO. If non-anarchos make public statements that don’t fit into that construct, and anarchos are going to criticize it, I’m gonna call that toxic phenomenon what it is, when appropriate.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  35. Michael H. Wilson

    Anacho or miniarcho, or whatever, maybe we should find some common ground and try to get the LP to be specific about its goals. Do we or do we not find it necessary to keep 11,000 troops in Italy and the same number in England? How do we get the LP to mention something such as this in media releases instead ofthese vague generalities?

  36. SSave our SStatism

    Maybe we should allow the “Libertarian Party” to continue to exist, just for the sake of appearances. It will be the biggest of the big government parties; that will sserve them right. Maybe we’ll put our new Libertarians in charge of rounding up the old ones. Yessss. I like that.

    SSave our SStatism

  37. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Susan @1 comment about ‘redistribution’ IMO opened the anarcho/minarcho/lessarcho wound. ”

    Taxation is, by definition, redistributionist. It takes money away from Set of People A, and then distributes that money to Set of People B. Even if there’s high overlap between A and B, the distribution among B post-taxation will not be identical to the distribution among A pre-taxation.

    Taxation is redistributionist in nature. Period. If you are correct in your claim that stating that fact “open[s] the anarcho/minarcho/lessarcho wound” by exposing a difference between anarchist doctrine on the one hand and minarchist/lessarchist doctrine on the other, then you’re necessarily stating that minarchist/lessarchist doctrine is inherently a doctrine of reality denial.

  38. paulie Post author

    There could not be a better time for a release on the drug war, or the Fed, or foreign policy, or civil liberties.

    Since the economic crisis is on people’s minds right now, it’s a good time to stress that we can’t afford the costs of all the above, which are bankrupting us.

  39. paulie Post author

    Paulie, Susan, and Tom, you all seem to be saying that ALL taxes are “redistributed” from the productive classes to the political classes. Fair characterization?

    Ask yourselves, is it so?

    Yes, it is.

  40. paulie Post author

    virtually everyone gets at least some get their taxes back in some form…student loans, government schools, SS payments, driving on roads, not being invaded, violent criminals behind bars, etc.

    Then they would willingly pay fort these services on an open market, right?

  41. paulie Post author

    As you three are self-identified anarchists, do you expect that we minarchists and lessarchists MUST adopt your paradigm in our public rhetoric?

    Of course not. And the converse should be true as well.

    Since both anarchists and minarchists coexist within the LP, shouldn’t the party’s pronouncements be inclusive of both viewpoints?

  42. paulie Post author

    If so, that seems to imply that the LP will be at constant internal “war.”

    Is that what you want? That anyone who calls themselves “L” MUST adopt your sense of “morality,” and all rhetoric must be couched in anarchist assumptions, explicitly or encoded, like the “Dallas Accord”?

    I don’t see us doing that, but I don’t see how the Dallas Accord fits into that.

    As I understand it, the Dallas Accord was that anarchists and minarchists would coexist within the LP and the party should not be explicitly one or the other.

    That seems sensible to me.

    I’m not sure I understand your proposed alternative to the Dallas Accord, except that it apparently involves the party explicitly acknowledging a supposed legitimacy to some form of coercive monopoly government, and that this is somehow supposed to be inclusive of anarchist libertarians?

  43. paulie Post author

    I don’t believe that disagreements should be swept under the rug.

    Neither do I. But it seems like a big waste of our time and energy to focus on that so much. I think we have bigger fish to fry.

  44. susan Hogarth

    Taxation is redistributionist in nature.

    Of course, strictly speaking the market is redistributionist as well. The difference, of course, is that the market is – by definition – *voluntarily* redistributionist, while taxation is – by definition – *coercively* redistributionist.

  45. susan Hogarth

    That line of analysis is anarchist, IMO.

    Hang on. Are you really suggesting that you *don’t* think taxes are coercively redistributionist by nature?

    That actually surprises me.

  46. susan Hogarth

    In fact, virtually everyone gets at least some get their taxes back in some form…student loans, government schools,…

    Right, and slaves got fed from the produce of their (and others’) labor, too. Makes ya wonder just what the fuck they were on about all the time, with their ‘freedom’ crap. Whiners! Hell, slavery was even constitutional!

    Paul and Tom have already tried to re-explain Dallas to you, and have pointed out that it’s you who are being tiresome, so I’ll confine myself to a few easy potshots.

  47. susan Hogarth

    “It is not enough to complain. We must act and compete to win political power so that we can regain control over our lives and realize the promise of freedom.”

    Notice this quote does not suggest they STOP complaining, or even complain *less*, just that more should be done.

    Well, duh. Like Boxer was fond of saying in _Animal Farm_ “we must work harder”.

  48. derkel

    “Then they would willingly pay fort these services on an open market, right?”

    You are assuming the free market could efficiently provide every one of those services. Even Adam Smith realized the free market can’t provide everything.

    The free market can do almost anything well. Doesn’t mean it can do everything. Like national defense. Unless you think a bunch of blackwaters running around protecting the country is a smart investment.

  49. paulie Post author

    Even Adam Smith realized the free market can’t provide everything.

    Adam Smith wasn’t the end all and be all of free market theory. I suggest you expand your reading list.

    Unless you think a bunch of blackwaters running around protecting the country is a smart investment.

    That’s a tired mischaracterization of free market defense. Blackwater is a firm that contracts with national regimes, not a true free market defense firm.

  50. Bryan

    Paulie…what would constitute a true free market defense firm?

    Blackwater is an independent contractor. Would they not be a “player” in the free state market?

    If I can afford protection…the best protection…available would they, or a similar firm not be an option for me?

  51. Susan Hogarth

    what would constitute a true free market defense firm?

    First, you’d have to have a free market. It’s the government’s buying of ‘defense services’ that distorts the market. There may be some individual contractors out there who don’t take government contracts, but they are at a distinct disadvantage to their competitors in that case.

    So it’s the ‘free market’ that makes (allows) ‘free market firms’. Your question is sort of like asking what it would take to make an enclosed garage an open carport. You’d need to pretty much dismantle the garage to allow it to be a carport. (strained analogy)

  52. derkel

    “Adam Smith wasn’t the end all and be all of free market theory. I suggest you expand your reading list. ”

    Did not say he was, but would you not agree that he has probably been the most influential on the free market theory?

    I’m not big into philosophy or economics either way so I don’t know.

    Susan,

    What would stop a couple of the free market firms from combining power and creating a monopoly on security? Then you have a de-facto government through a military defense contractor.

    I think it is beyond naive to think any type of arrangement wouldn’t lead to some type of military run dictatorship. Human nature shows people always try to obtain more power.

  53. Susan Hogarth

    What would stop a couple of the free market firms from combining power and creating a monopoly on security?

    Other firms. Individuals. That is: the market.

    Sure, some mafia might form and become a government. Then you’d have a free people who suddenly are back under the yoke of a government. Now we have people who have never been really free under the same yoke. I wonder which ones would respond better to the situation? My guess is that the recently-free folk wouldn’t easily stand for such nonsense for long.

    I think it is beyond naive to think any type of arrangement wouldn’t lead to some type of military run dictatorship.

    Well, this certainly has been the historical situation, hasn’t it? Every government is basically a military/police dictatorship. But there are reasonable arguments to the contrary. You should dip into some of the voluntaryist literature sometime if you are interested.

  54. derkel

    Susan,

    I agree history has typically shown humans want to submit to some type of governmetn.

    I don’t think it is beyond reason to believe some type of organized businesses will conspire together to basically form some type of government. I mean we see this in every aspect of our society. Take cable television for an example. Cable providers carve up areas where the other won’t go. Creating a monopoly in the process and removing the free market. Now take it to the next level when those are the people with tanks, guns, airplanes, and all the high tech military equipment. It would only be natural for those people to assume control of a state.

    “My guess is that the recently-free folk wouldn’t easily stand for such nonsense for long. ”

    I don’t really have as much faith in the people. At least not right now.

    Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely have to look into the voluntaryist literature. It would be good for me to expand my knowledge on this subject.

  55. Susan Hogarth

    I agree history has typically shown humans want to submit to some type of governmetn.

    Eh? You can’t agree with me on that, because I never said that! I said mob/mafia rule has historically *happened*.

    I don’t think it is beyond reason to believe some type of organized businesses will conspire together to basically form some type of government.

    Of course. I never suggested otherwise. If you think I’m arguing that it won’t be *tried*, then I understand why you’d call me naive. But you’re wrong about that.

    Cable providers carve up areas where the other won’t go. Creating a monopoly in the process and removing the free market.

    Well, yes. But the only reason they can succeed is because they can use government to effect and support this ‘carving up’. In a free market, they would not have guns (err, legislators) backing them up. Sure they’d still try, of course!

    I’d love to give good recommendations, but my own reading it pretty pitifully shallow on the subject. You might dip into “Chaos Theory” (or anything else) by Bob Murphy, though. Other folks can undoubtedly recommend things.

  56. Bryan

    What about the local level?…If I find myself in an anarchist state “overnight”, my first reaction would be to form a community defense co-op. This would be the only way to ensure the security of my property without my continual physical presence on the property.

    Naturally we would limit the entry onto our co-op for security reasons, and would need funds to continue the up keep of the roads so anyone entering our “area” would be charged a toll for usage.

    If my security “co-op” were to be the strongest in what is now known as the township, we may expand, charging homeowners and business owners for our “protection”. It would be strictly voluntary but if you don’t subscribe to our “service” your on your own. But keep in mind, bad things can happen to people and their property if there is no law enforcement.

    As we expand our “co-op”, we will charge for the use of what is now the interstates. I would attempt to align with “co-ops” north, east, and west of (the local major city) to shut down landbased commerce without paying their tariff for going through our land. With luck this will result in a “lump sum” payment from “the major city”, adding to the “warchest” of our collective security “co-op”.

    Without writing a friggin novel, I’m sure you see where my mindset is. Get rid of government with restrictions (the US Constitution and the State Constitutions) and you will not have anarchy, but rather local/regional chaos.

    Most of you snicker at a Socialist Utopia. Is the belief of a Free-Market Utopia any more achievable???

  57. Susan Hogarth

    Without writing a friggin novel, I’m sure you see where my mindset is. Get rid of government with restrictions (the US Constitution and the State Constitutions) and you will not have anarchy, but rather local/regional chaos.

    You mention novels, and rightly. You’re imagining a fictional scenario, and asking us to believe it’s the truth. And yet we know for a fact that your “government with restrictions” is a deeply flawed system at best. You want to compare it with what you imagine will be worse; I’m asking you to not let your ‘mindset’ (your word) convince you without evidence or (what i consider) due consideration that any particular alternative would be worse.

    Most of you snicker at a Socialist Utopia. Is the belief of a Free-Market Utopia any more achievable???

    I don’t think anyone here is a Utopian. We know that people will inevitably want to rule over other people. We just don’t see that as a justification for instituting that very sort of system.

  58. Bryan

    I’m not interested in ruling others. But in an anarchic society I have to look out for number one…and the only way to do that is to form alliances with like minded people…These people will (generally) be those with similar goals as my own. If we form groups for defense, or aggression… we will form groups.

    Are these groups, hundreds or thousands across what is now the US, not what you are speaking against?

    Will they be a better alternative to bringing the US back to the Constitutional government that we are supposed to be living under?

  59. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Will they be a better alternative to bringing the US back to the Constitutional government that we are supposed to be living under?”

    How can we go “back” to where we’ve never been? The ink wasn’t dry on the Constitution before the parts of it that weren’t inherently broken in the first place (it’s failure to properly address slavery, for example) got broken.

    George Washington led an army into Pennsylvania to suppress “sedition” (specific among the charges against the Whiskey Rebels was that they had set up liberty poles!).

    John Adams rammed the Alien and Sedition Acts through Congress so that he could jail his political enemies and keep the Irish from voting against him in the subsequent election.

    Thomas Jefferson ordered the detention of American citizens by the military without recourse to habeas corpus, and decided not to let the Constitution become an inconvenience when Napoleon offered to sell Louisiana.

    And so on, and so forth.

    We’ve never HAD “Constitutional government” and more than 200 years of history says we either can’t figure out how to have it or don’t want to have it.

    Despite all that, I’m willing to give it a try, especially in terms of invoking the Constitution in the form of demands that government operate within its constraints. What I’m not willing to do is pretend that 200 years of failed constitutionalism is prima facie evidence of efficacy versus alternatives which have as yet been given far less rope to hang themselves with.

  60. Robert Capozzi

    tk: Taxation is redistributionist in nature. Period. If you are correct in your claim that stating that fact “open[s] the anarcho/minarcho/lessarcho wound” by exposing a difference between anarchist doctrine on the one hand and minarchist/lessarchist doctrine on the other, then you’re necessarily stating that minarchist/lessarchist doctrine is inherently a doctrine of reality denial.

    bc: yes, well, taxation certainly reallocates resources by force. I don’t use the term “redistributionist” to describe that phenomenon, for that term has a narrower meaning.

    As for “denial,” we’re ALL in denial about something. Anarchists, for instance, are generally in denial about reality and appropriateness, IMO. On reality, they deny that human history is marked by a State of some sort virtually always, and the few times an anarcho regimes that HAVE emerged failed. (States fail too, but are almost always replaced by another State.) They advocate private defense corporations, which just seem absolutely loopy and non-serious to me. (As a TAAAList, I’m open to the possibility that even Acme is possible at some point, but my judgment says, nowhere’s near now is that possible.)

    More important, advocating anarchy now just seems to be obviously inappropriate in the current POLITICAL context. At some point, when the State is MUCH smaller, it might be appropriate. Anarchy is an interesting theoretical construct, with much to say for it, but running for office as an anarchist is a waste of MY time, at least. And it sure seems futile for others…but I do wish you all the best if that’s your thing.

  61. Robert Capozzi

    pc: Since both anarchists and minarchists coexist within the LP, shouldn’t the party’s pronouncements be inclusive of both viewpoints?

    bc: sounds nice. but is it practical? recall that some anarchists believe that kiddie porn production is a “right.” I don’t. Your statement then is unworkable, for the LP cannot make a pronouncement on kiddie porn, since the 2 positions are diammetrically opposed.

    (Susan, no, for me, even in theory, kiddie porn production, private nukes, etc., are not “freedom.” Good luck with your views, but I and probably most Ls don’t share them. Your argument is a straw man.)

    This is the nub of the dysfunction. Given the limits of appropriate political discourse, if an minarcho or lessarcho advocates a smaller, Constitution-bound State in the next, say, 5 years, anarchos tend to savage that position as “statist.”

    Just as 2 anarchists won’t necessarily agree on what “freedom” is, so too 2 Ls from different schools won’t agree, either. There will be differences in “principled” theory. And there will be differences on what strategies best advance more liberty and less coercion.

    Rodney King wasn’t suggesting that we have to limit our rhetoric and what we advocate for. He was suggesting we get along…a different thing.

  62. Rich Paul

    Can we keep the anarchist stuff under the “Anarchist Party”? It doesn’t matter what would happen in your perfect world. I’m 40 years old. The only way I could possibly see it is if we have a complete collapse of government, and claw our way from chaos to anarchy. I’m not looking forward to that.

    We have a purpose in having a Libertarian Party. It is to elect people who will reduce the size and scope of government. They might not go from near-fascism to near-anarchism in one election cycle. If they do, they’ve done something horribly wrong. Get over it.

    As for Phillies, above, yes, the spending is unconstitutional. There are 17 things enumerated in article 1, section 8, (or maybe 9, it’s late) that congress is authorized to do. In law, when there is an enumerated set, all which is not explicitly included is implicitly excluded. Sorry, you lose, but thanks for playing the game.

  63. Susan Hogarth

    If we form groups for defense, or aggression… we will form groups.

    Are these groups, hundreds or thousands across what is now the US, not what you are speaking against?

    Groups for defense, no. Groups for aggression, yes.

  64. Susan Hogarth

    (Susan, no, for me, even in theory, kiddie porn production, private nukes, etc., are not “freedom.” Good luck with your views, but I and probably most Ls don’t share them. Your argument is a straw man.)

    This is ironic. You say a bunch of words that you’ve *made up and put in my mouth* are a ‘straw man argument’.

    Yes, Bob, that’s a great example of a straw man. Have fun knocking it down.

  65. Susan Hogarth

    For Bob’s edification, *this* is a straw man:

    Can we keep the anarchist stuff under the “Anarchist Party”? It doesn’t matter what would happen in your perfect world.

    No one here has been talking about a perfect or utopian world. We’ve been discussing what might be the best possible world, in a political sense.

  66. Robert Capozzi

    Susan, I’m sorry, where did I attribute those anarcho views TO YOU?

    The record shows NOWHERE, yes?

    Care to revise your assertion?

    My statement is correct. Some anarchos DO believe that kiddie porn production and private nukes are a “right,” yes? Therefore, mine was most definitely NOT a straw man, yes?

  67. Susan Hogarth

    Susan, I’m sorry, where did I attribute those anarcho views TO YOU?

    Don’t be disingenuous, Bob. I don’t mind you insulting my intelligence, but it’s painful to see you insulting your own.

  68. Robert Capozzi

    Susan, my Inner Rodney is confused by 81. I truly have no idea where you come down on kiddie porn production. I seem to recall that you cleave to Rothbard and Block’s analysis of private nukes. But you and I both know ancaps that believe Murray and Walter are “wrong” on the issue.

    Those ARE admittedly extreme examples, but absolutism applied in the political context requires that sort of inquiry.

    But, it seems obvious to anyone reading this thread that you are once again refusing to address (sidestepping) the point. You have developed a pattern of making glib, dismissive statements when I challenge your position…for ex., we still have no idea why you don’t consider me an L.

    Near as I can tell, Susan, you are quite intelligent, probably MORE intelligent than I am (depending, of course, on how one defines “intelligence.” Personally, I’ll take “wisdom” over “IQ” all day long!) So I really don’t see why you seem to believe I’ve “insulted” you, your intelligence, or your views.

    Another straw man, perhaps?

    And I don’t see how you conclude that I’m insulting my OWN intelligence. It might be interesting to see how you reach such a conclusion.

    “Can we all just get along?”

  69. Thomas M. Sipos

    I’d say that three types of people exist in the LP.

    1. Anarchists, who want to abolish 100% of govt.

    2. Minarchists, who want to abolish 99 – 90% of govt.

    3. Republican Lites, who want to trim taxes by a few percentage points (nothing that will scare voters), and actually increase govt in certain “necessary” areas (usually, empire-building).

    I know some people fall between these cracks, but the above holds true. And the following:

    Minarchists and anarchists are natural allies.

    Republican Lites are not minarchists, though they masquerade as minarchists on TV.

    I’m a true minarchist. I put the “min” in my minarchy.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    TS, 2 questions:

    1) Please elaborate on your apparent view that “scaring voters” is virtuous and effective.

    2) Regarding your “want” concept, do you think Mick and Keith were incorrect when they observed, ” You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” Doesn’t that describe the human condition very well?

  71. Thomas M. Sipos

    1. I don’t say that “scaring voters” is virtuous or effective. I just don’t care how voters respond. I think the LP should speak truth and principles, and let let the chips fall where they will.

    2. I’m too uninterested in your question two to even think about it, much less formulate a response.

  72. Robert Capozzi

    ts: thanks for making THAT explicit! You don’t care if the State is reduced or not! Wow!

    It appears you belief there is one set of truth and principles….and those would be in what Bible, scribed by which Moses, I’d ask.

  73. Melty

    I think it’ s true that minarchists and anarchists’re natural allies. Strange though, why is it so many of us can’t get along? The LP Chairman of Nevada once told me Libertarians don’t wanna admit they’ve never thought of something, if they’ve never thought of something. Maybe we’re all just too damn pompous for our own good, our own collective good or singly. And there’re those who’re just bent on dissing. It seems like peace is sorely lacking in the LP slogan in more ways than one. Unfortunately, the Rodney King question is well worth asking . . . ourselves.

  74. Brian Holtz

    Thomas, would you care to name names of any prominent LP leaders/candidates who fall into your “Republican lite” category, and cite your evidence for it? Joseph McCarthy’s papers are stored at Marquette University. You might want to contact them to see if he left any blank stationery for compiling such lists of names.

    Every single episode in which there wasn’t a monopoly on force-initiation over a region becomes a test case for anarcholibertarianism. Despite the literally hundreds of such test cases, the only purported successes advanced for the theory involve a few thousand pre-industrial farmers sprinkled sparsely across medieval Iceland and the frontier of colonial Pennsylvania. In contrast to how even bastard forms of minarchism have been so spectacularly successful compared to all other significant social experiments, the track record of anarcholibertarianism is simply embarrassing.

    History provides many examples of situations in which there was no functioning monopoly on force-initiation over a significant region for a significant period of time (for any non-embarrassing standard of significance). There is not a single case in the entire history of organized crime across hundreds of cities in scores of nations over multiple decades in which the unregulated market for protection behaved remotely like what is predicted by anarcholibertarian theory. This track record becomes even more dismal if you include all the cases in history in which there have been regions lacking effective sovereignty by a central authority. This amounts to an empirical falsification of the anarcholibertarian theory of protection markets that by the standards of social science is spectacularly conclusive.

    It’s silly to try to define all taxation as violating the platform’s injunction against “all efforts by government to redistribute wealth”. It would be silly squared to try to say this of “taxes” that are actually just court-contestable non-zero default fines on aggression e.g. pollution. It would less silly to say that requiring such default fines to always be zero is an effort to redistribute wealth to polluters from the polluted.

  75. robert capozzi

    tk, you are doing a great Hogarthian glib deflection imitation ;-).

    Perhaps you are SO satisfied with the “truth” of your “wants” that you need to dismiss anyone’s opinions that don’t align with your theoretical construct.

    As you have stumbled on The Truth, I’m curious: If you “want” the State to be, say, 95% smaller, if someone else wants to stop at 89 %, are they Lite? Why do you feel it necessary to put a number on it? And do you reject Hayek’s analysis of the fatal conceit of constructs?

  76. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Every single episode in which there wasn’t a monopoly on force-initiation over a region becomes a test case for anarcholibertarianism.”

    That statement is the functional equivalent of “every single episode in which there wasn’t a monopoly on transportation technology over a region becomes a test case for the Ford Model T.”

    Both statements are absurd on their faces because they assume that “anarcholibertarianism” and automobiles are failures unless they spring up spontaneously and unbidden from any soil that happens not to be monopolized by some alternative at any given point.

    In point of fact, anarchism as a political theory is younger than the modern state, and it is a complex theoretical edifice which assumes intention on the part of its implementers.

    Yes, anarchist theory does use some organic/spontaneous situations of the past as empirical demonstrations for certain of its holdings. I rather suspect that the developers of the internal combustion engine (to stick with the analogy), from Al-Jazari on, noticed certain features of nature and applied them to the engine’s development as well.

    I’m surprised that you’d find taking the LP’s platform at its word “silly.” Taxation is redistributive of wealth. Whether or not redistribution is always a bad thing is a separate question.

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You seem to be confusing me with Mr. Sipos. Not that that’s necessarily uncomplimentary, mind you, but I prefer to speak only for myself.

  78. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I only know of only one anarcholibertarianism advocate (David Friedman) who says that Rothbardian-style protection markets wouldn’t necessarily spring up spontaneously in the absence of the State. Nobody claims a product called “Model T” is inevitable — let alone defined — by the absence of mass transit monopolies. However, most anarcholibertarians seem to say that anarcholibertarinism is defined as the absence of the State, and seem to think that their notion of a defense protection market is sure to be realized in any such absence. If you’re saying that such a market is farther from an inevitability — and thus closer to a fantasy — than most anarcholibertarians advertise, then I welcome your contribution to my side of the argument.

    Redistribution is taking from one entity and giving the proceeds to an entity of the same type. If you define redistribution as merely taking, that remains silly. The platform doesn’t do that, and that’s why I still haven’t called that platform provision silly. You, however, seem to think that the Platform has taken a stand against all government efforts to e.g. forcibly retrieve stolen property and “distribute” it back to its rightful owner. And that’s just silly.

  79. Brian Holtz

    Somebody wake Senator Joe McSipos and tell him that the House Un-Libertarian Activities Committee is still waiting for that list of “Republican Lite” infiltrators….

  80. paulie Post author

    Paulie…what would constitute a true free market defense firm?

    One that is not subsidized by clients who obtain their money through coercion, force and fraud, and whose owners and operators are fully liable for their actions.

    Blackwater is an independent contractor. Would they not be a “player” in the free state market?

    No.

    If I can afford protection…the best protection…available would they, or a similar firm not be an option for me?

    There’s nothing similar between the Blackwater situation and a real free market.

  81. paulie Post author

    “Adam Smith wasn’t the end all and be all of free market theory. I suggest you expand your reading list. ”

    Did not say he was, but would you not agree that he has probably been the most influential on the free market theory?

    I would say that free market theory has evolved significantly since his time.

    What would stop a couple of the free market firms from combining power and creating a monopoly on security? Then you have a de-facto government through a military defense contractor.

    So the big danger in anarchy is that we may fail and wind up with a monopoly government? We already have one of those.

  82. paulie Post author

    history has typically shown humans want to submit to some type of government

    Well, they’ve certainly been forced to in many instances. You may be right, but then again, I don’t have polling data for “always”.

    In any case, that’s irrelevant: they can submit to whatever they want. The question is whether they should be allowed to force whoever doesn’t want to, to submit as well, even if it’s a small minority.

    I don’t really have as much faith in the people. At least not right now.

    If you don’t have faith in people, who is it that you think forms and runs governments?

    Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely have to look into the voluntaryist literature. It would be good for me to expand my knowledge on this subject.

    Many good essays here:

    http://praxeology.net/anarcres.htm

  83. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Tom, I only know of only one anarcholibertarianism advocate (David Friedman) who says that Rothbardian-style protection markets wouldn’t necessarily spring up spontaneously in the absence of the State.”

    Then you don’t know many “anarcholibertarianism” advocates — or perhaps you’re defining the term with undue narrowness.

    I consider the Konkin-influence agorist/libertarian left movement to be “anarcholibertarian” by any reasonable definition, and they’re very much about intentionality and “building the new society in the shell of the old,” not just assuming that the elimination of the state would result in the kind of society they prefer.

    “Redistribution is taking from one entity and giving the proceeds to an entity of the same type.”

    If that’s true, then taxation is an instrument of redistribution — money is taken from entities of one type (homo sapiens) and given to other entities of that same type. Or are you claiming that the money is actually being forked over to Evil Extraterrestrials?

  84. paulie Post author

    Will they be a better alternative to bringing the US back to the Constitutional government that we are supposed to be living under?

    A) Yes, I think they would
    B) “Back” seems to make the assumption that the constitution was ever enforced as written. I don’t think this is borne out by the facts. The very people who wrote the constitution also violated it.

  85. paulie Post author

    How can we go “back” to where we’ve never been? The ink wasn’t dry on the Constitution before the parts of it that weren’t inherently broken in the first place (it’s failure to properly address slavery, for example) got broken.

    George Washington led an army into Pennsylvania to suppress “sedition” (specific among the charges against the Whiskey Rebels was that they had set up liberty poles!).

    John Adams rammed the Alien and Sedition Acts through Congress so that he could jail his political enemies and keep the Irish from voting against him in the subsequent election.

    Thomas Jefferson ordered the detention of American citizens by the military without recourse to habeas corpus, and decided not to let the Constitution become an inconvenience when Napoleon offered to sell Louisiana.

    And so on, and so forth.

    We’ve never HAD “Constitutional government” and more than 200 years of history says we either can’t figure out how to have it or don’t want to have it.

    Despite all that, I’m willing to give it a try, especially in terms of invoking the Constitution in the form of demands that government operate within its constraints. What I’m not willing to do is pretend that 200 years of failed constitutionalism is prima facie evidence of efficacy versus alternatives which have as yet been given far less rope to hang themselves with.

    Exactly. That’s what I was trying to say.

    🙂

  86. paulie Post author

    bc: yes, well, taxation certainly reallocates resources by force. I don’t use the term “redistributionist” to describe that phenomenon, for that term has a narrower meaning.

    See your own definition for redistribution further up.

  87. paulie Post author

    the few times an anarcho regimes that HAVE emerged failed.

    Not particularly failed, except that they eventually devolved back to statism after hundreds of years.

    Also, different specific aspects of anarchism have existed in different places at different times and worked. Additionally, many places have had de facto anarchism even though they officially fell within larger areas claimed by some nation-state.

  88. paulie Post author

    recall that some anarchists believe that kiddie porn production is a “right.” I don’t. Your statement then is unworkable, for the LP cannot make a pronouncement on kiddie porn, since the 2 positions are diammetrically opposed.

    And why does the LP need to make pronouncements about kiddie porn?

    Our job should be to advocate against the excesses of government. There are enough of those to keep us busy full time.

  89. paulie Post author

    Robert: Susan, no, for me, even in theory, kiddie porn production, private nukes, etc., are not “freedom.” Good luck with your views, but I and probably most Ls don’t share them. Your argument is a straw man.

    Susan: This is ironic. You say a bunch of words that you’ve *made up and put in my mouth* are a ’straw man argument’.

    Robert: Susan, I’m sorry, where did I attribute those anarcho views TO YOU?

    The record shows NOWHERE, yes?

    Paul: In the original paragraph, “your views” and “your arguments” seems clearly to refer to the first sentence, although it does not actually say so within that sentence.

  90. paulie Post author

    I’d say that three types of people exist in the LP.

    Those who can count, and those who can’t?

    Seriously, all types of oversimplifications such as this are flawed. There are (at least) as many kinds of libertarians as there are libertarians alive.

    1. Anarchists, who want to abolish 100% of govt.

    2. Minarchists, who want to abolish 99 – 90% of govt.

    3. Republican Lites,

    Where would you categorize Gravel?

  91. paulie Post author

    TS, 2 questions:

    1) Please elaborate on your apparent view that “scaring voters” is virtuous and effective.

    I missed this part. Would you please provide a fuller quote and where I can find the original?

  92. paulie Post author

    You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need

    Indeed. Consequently, if you don’t try, you won’t.

  93. paulie Post author

    It appears you belief there is one set of truth and principles….and those would be in what Bible, scribed by which Moses, I’d ask.

    Well, a majority of Americans claim to believe in that, yes, but I don’t know if Sipos is among them or not – certainly not from anything posted in this thread, though perhaps you have other sources?

  94. paulie Post author

    I think it’ s true that minarchists and anarchists’re natural allies. Strange though, why is it so many of us can’t get along? The LP Chairman of Nevada once told me Libertarians don’t wanna admit they’ve never thought of something, if they’ve never thought of something. Maybe we’re all just too damn pompous for our own good, our own collective good or singly. And there’re those who’re just bent on dissing. It seems like peace is sorely lacking in the LP slogan in more ways than one. Unfortunately, the Rodney King question is well worth asking . . . ourselves.

    True.

  95. paulie Post author

    Zzzzzzzzzz…zzz…zzz…

    I’m sorry, Brian. Did you say something?

    (Yawn) Zzzzzzzzzzzzz…

    Yes, he did.

    If you don’t find it interesting, why comment on it at all?

  96. paulie Post author

    Redistribution is taking from one entity and giving the proceeds to an entity of the same type. If you define redistribution as merely taking, that remains silly.

    Well, yes, taxes involve both taking and giving.

    forcibly retrieve stolen property and “distribute” it back to its rightful owner.

    Taxes take property, both stolen and unstolen, and distribute them based on a fundamentally flawed political/bureaucratic process.

  97. paulie Post author

    Or are you claiming that the money is actually being forked over to Evil Extraterrestrials?

    No, that’s sunshinebatman.

    😛

  98. Rocky Eades

    @ #96 – Excuse my ignorance, but my definition of [government] “redistribution” is “taking wealth – by force or threat of force – from those that have created it and giving it to those that didn’t – generally politically favored special interest groups” It is a pull-push situation. The government takes by force the wealth of those who have it – wage earners, entrepreneurs, etc – and gives to those that don’t have it – soldiers, cops, IRS agents, social workers, teachers, politicians and their large voter blocks, etc.

    I realize that there are many libertarians who think that breaking windows and getting them replaced makes perfect economic – and moral – sense, but they are just plain wrong.

  99. Rocky Eades

    @ #68 – derkel writes: “I don’t really have as much faith in the people. At least not right now.”

    I can’t answer that one any better than did Robert Lefevre: “If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.”

  100. Rocky Eades

    @ #98 – Paulie writes (answering someone else): ” Blackwater is an independent contractor. Would they not be a “player” in the free state market?

    No.

    I say: maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t; but certainly not under their current business model.

  101. Brian Holtz

    Tom, the Platform is obviously talking about redistribution of wealth for the purpose of adjusting the relative or absolute levels of wealth or income of the people taken from and given to. It’s not a competent reading to take that clause as opposing all taxation. You can pretend all you want that there’s no relevant difference between tax dollars funding courts and tax dollars funding bailouts, but that pretense can advance your case only in the eyes of simpletons. These are also the only people who would not notice you ducking my point that your reading would take the LP Platform as opposing all government efforts to “redistribute” stolen property back to its rightful owner.

    I’ll take your word for it that anarcholibertarians outside of the orbit of the LP’s anarchist wing are more realistic about how well we can expect protection markets to work in the absence of the State. If any of them have built — or even have heard of — a protection market operating on a significant scale in the way the LP’s anarchists assure us would happen without a State, I’d love to hear about it.

    Paulie, you can file that gem of Sipos wit under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doth_protest_too_much.

    I agree it’s always wrong to tax anyone’s labor, peaceful production, or voluntary exchanges, but it’s equally wrong for people not to be charged when they monopolize, pollute, deplete, or congest the natural commons. Your war cry should not be “no taxes!”, it should be “no stinking taxes!”. Fred Foldvary explains the difference at http://www.progress.org/2004/fold352.htm.

  102. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, the Platform is obviously talking about redistribution of wealth for the purpose of adjusting the relative or absolute levels of wealth or income of the people taken from and given to. It’s not a competent reading to take that clause as opposing all taxation. You can pretend all you want that there’s no relevant difference between tax dollars funding courts and tax dollars funding bailouts, but that pretense can advance your case only in the eyes of simpletons.”

    Sure, there’s a difference.

    Tax dollars funding courts is redistribution of wealth to people who want, or want to keep, jobs as judges, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc.

    Tax dollars funding bailouts is redistribution of wealth to politically connected corporate bureaucrats who want to continue being politically connected corporate bureaucrats.

    They’re both redistributions of wealth from the productive class to the political class, but I admit that they are redistributions of wealth from the productive class to different cliques within the political class. Happy now?

    “These are also the only people who would not notice you ducking my point that your reading would take the LP Platform as opposing all government efforts to ‘redistribute’ stolen property back to its rightful owner.”

    Actually, I noted that some redistribution might be just. That’s a defect in the platform. I can’t blame you for not noticing it when you wrote it — after all, I didn’t notice it when I read it and voted in favor of it.

    “I’ll take your word for it that anarcholibertarians outside of the orbit of the LP’s anarchist wing are more realistic about how well we can expect protection markets to work in the absence of the State.”

    Since I’m an anarchist and a libertarian, I presumably qualify as an “anarcholibertarian.” And last time I noticed, I was well within the orbit of the LP.

    “If any of them have built — or even have heard of — a protection market operating on a significant scale in the way the LP’s anarchists assure us would happen without a State, I’d love to hear about it.”

    As one of the LP’s anarchists, I don’t offer any assurances as to how protection markets will operate in the absence of a state. Personally, I’m not a utopian, and I expect a libertarian society to have many problems to grapple with. I’m eager to start grappling with them instead of continuing to trust the state to do so, since it has quite obviously and miserably failed to do so. And while I’d ultimately like to dismantle the state entirely for that reason, I’m content with such partial dismantling as may be practically accomplished.

  103. robert capozzi

    tk: Tax dollars funding courts is redistribution of wealth to people who want, or want to keep, jobs as judges, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc

    me: You of course can view it that way. It seems obvious to me that the vast majoity benefit from a criminal justice system, and the vast majority support the existence of a criminal justice system. To the extent I play the construct game, I suspect it would be among the last State functions to be privatized, if at all. If you get the nomination, I hope this issue is not a cornerstone of your campaign, for it’s so highly theoretical and arcane that I’d be concerned that it will open your campaign up to either ridicule or deep obscurity or both.

    If you don’t see THAT, then one of us is truly in DEEP denial of state of the electorate’s pulse.

  104. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    While my own anarchism is not asymptotic per se, it would be functionally so were I elected president.

    Eight years in one executive office — an office defined by a Constitution which I would be honestly sworn to work within the constraints of — simply isn’t long enough to achieve an intersection of theoretical line and real curve.

    In light of that fact, as a presidential candidate constitutionally constrained applied lessarchy is the best description I can offer for my intended approach to campaigning. Every policy proposal I make will either be prima facie constitutional, or else be explicitly accompanied by a proposal for constitutional amendment.

    To put a finer point on it, as a candidate for POTUS I will neither promise nor threaten to eliminate the government of the United States of America. That’s not a promise any POTUS could plausibly deliver on, especially a POTUS who takes oaths seriously.

    That said, I will campaign on a promise to reduce the size, scope and power of the federal criminal justice system as fast and as far as possible. That criminal justice system as it exists today is almost entirely a scheme for redistribution of wealth to the law enforcement/judicial/prison-industrial complex.

  105. Bryan

    I was going to ask you how you would handle the oath…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution…

  106. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bryan,

    I’d handle the oath by keeping it!

    I see plenty of opportunities to reduce the size, scope and power of government within the constraints of the oath and of the Constitution.

    Even assuming a nominally Libertarian Congress to match a Libertarian White House, I doubt that four or eight years would exhaust those opportunities and leave no further options but to either repudiate the Constitution, turn out the lights in DC, and go home or else start growing government again.

    If anyone asks me a “how would x work in an anarchist society” question while I’m speaking as a candidate, I’ll give the shortest, most concise answer I can … and then segue to “but I’m not running for Nobel Laureate of Anarchist Theory, I’m running for President of the United States, and here’s what I think we can do about x in my first two years in office.”

  107. derkel

    “So the big danger in anarchy is that we may fail and wind up with a monopoly government? We already have one of those.”

    Yes, except our government is at least somewhat accountable right now. The government that would emerge from the anarchist state would not be.

    “Well, they’ve certainly been forced to in many instances. You may be right, but then again, I don’t have polling data for “always”. ”

    The fact that there has never been a long-term anarchist regime shows always hold true. Government of all types usually begin with the people submitting to some type of rule.

    Throughout history humans have always formed a type of governing body. Whether it be tribes, clans, colonies, etc. there has almost always been some type of higher power. It appears to be human nature that we wish to see at least some type of governing body.

    Like another poster previously mentioned, anarchy is a utopia much like socialism.

  108. Susan Hogarth

    Yes, except our government is at least somewhat accountable right now.

    Oh, sure. But ya gotta ask: accountable to *who*?

    Or… whom? damn it.

  109. paulie Post author

    The fact that there has never been a long-term anarchist regime

    Anarchist regime is a self-contradiction, but there have been country-sized territories which had non-monopoly government for centuries.

  110. Susan Hogarth

    It appears to be human nature that we wish to see at least some type of governing body.

    Of course. Hell, I wan to see 6 *billion* ‘governing bodies’. Self-government is only real form of fully-*accountable* governance.

    And, to tell you the truth, when I’m feeling bleak about humans I suspect that’s exactly why so many of us shy away from the idea so heartily.

    Conscience is a cruel dictator!

  111. Robert Capozzi

    tom @ 123, excellent! Testing, though, if you are an “anarchist,” and NOT a TAAAList, why do you feel bound by an “illegitimate” oath and parchment? Further, even if you get the nomination, we can be pretty damned sure you won’t win, so why constrain yourself and your REAL intent?

  112. derkel

    “Oh, sure. But ya gotta ask: accountable to *who*?

    Or… whom? damn it.”

    Each government faces a different type of domestic constraints. Ours is semi-accountable to the people. I’m not going to argue they are in any way close to completely accountable, but there is some.

    “Anarchist regime is a self-contradiction, but there have been country-sized territories which had non-monopoly government for centuries.”

    LOL, thanks for the correction. Using regime makes no sense when referencing anarchy.

    “Of course. Hell, I wan to see 6 *billion* ‘governing bodies’. Self-government is only real form of fully-*accountable* governance.”

    I’d like to see that also, but human nature makes this impossible. I’d like to see a socialist utopia emerge where we are all happy holding hands and one great big nice community. The problem is I think both of these are unlikely to ever come close to happening.

  113. Robert Capozzi

    Paulie at 111, Hah! Well, Sipos’s concept of “not caring” about outcomes is the operative concept of my post.

    I care, very much. And while I might want to reduce the State from say 40% of GDP to maybe 5% (exact number TBD), HOW you try to negotiate that is just as important as what you try FOR. If one grandiosely attempts to the “ideal construct,” what are the odds that anyone else will take you seriously? Outcome so far from that formula? Poor, yes? Indeed, the wrong direction!

    Maybe we should “try” to get what we “need”–the right direction, not expecting “satisfaction,” which we KNOW, of course, that we can’t actually get ;-), as we learned in 1965.

    What we “want” is a chimera!

  114. Robert Capozzi

    SH: Of course. Hell, I wan[t] to see 6 *billion* ‘governing bodies’. Self-government is only real form of fully-*accountable* governance.

    me: You HAVE, if you’ve seen ROAD WARRIOR.

  115. paulie Post author

    I have an entirely different take on the lyrics.

    To me, the message is to shoot for the stars; if you try, you may not get there, but you may get part of the way. You might even surprise yourself and go farther than what you thought possible.

    If you constrain yourself before you try, you get less. That is, you get to negotiate down from what was already a position you negotiated down in your own mind before you ever made a proposal.

  116. Susan Hogarth

    I’d like to see that also, but human nature makes this impossible.

    What? Self-governance? Or self-governance by every human all the time?

    Because the former happens all the time, and is therefore not contrary to human nature. The latter seems to be a stretch for most peeps, I’ll grant, but as Paulie(?) pointed out earlier, that’s hardly a reason to *support* the rightness of some folks ruling over others.

    In a mix of people who are strongly inclined to self-governance and people who are less capable of self-governance, which ones do you think will tend to become part of the ruling class? And then consider which ones you’d *want* to have as rulers, assuming you accepted some sort of necessity for a ruling class?

    Thinking about those things can give you some idea why some folks just want to rely on self-governance, imperfect as it may be. Your conscience is a heavy ruler, but at least it lets you spend your ‘social’ part of your paycheck on real charity or change rather than expanding some idiot’s empire.

  117. Michael H. Wilson

    In my house I get to make the rules.

    Does that constitutue a government?

    If the three year old puts a rubber band on the dog’s tail and I swat him on the butt does that constitute a violation of the non aggression principle?

  118. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    “Testing, though, if you are an ‘anarchist,’ and NOT a TAAAList, why do you feel bound by an ‘illegitimate’ oath and parchment?”

    I’m not sure in what sense you’re using the term “legitimate.” If I take the oath, I will take it with honest intent to faithfully discharge it.

    Since the oath requires that I uphold the parchment, I’ll uphold the parchment. Those are the rules of the game. I’m playing the game, and I consent to and will abide by the game’s rules.

    Advance notification: In discharging the portion of the oath which requires me to defend the parchment from “all enemies, foreign and domestic,” I’ll construe “enemies” to refer to persons who propose to overthrow the parchment by force of arms (i.e. invasion or insurrection), not to anyone and everyone who disagrees with its content or legitimacy and might attempt to non-violently amend, repeal or secede from it.

    “Further, even if you get the nomination, we can be pretty damned sure you won’t win, so why constrain yourself and your REAL intent?”

    My REAL intent as a presidential candidate is to offer America’s voters a plausibly deliverable program of reduced size, scope and power on the part of the federal government.

    Richard Nixon was a Quaker, but I doubt he ran for president because he wanted to turn everyone on to the Inner Light.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower was a golfer, but so far as I know, golf was not part of his campaign platform or program.

    I’m not running for president “as an anarchist” any more than I order pizza “as an anarchist.” Electoral politics /= anarchism, and in running for president I am engaging in the former, not the latter.

    Let me put this in Grover Norquist terms for you:

    Norquist is often quoted as saying “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

    As a presidential candidate (and if elected to the office), I will do what I can to reduce government to the size where it can be dragged into the bathroom and drowned in the bathtub.

    As a presidential candidate (and if elected to the office), I will not presume to do the drowning. That would be exceeding my brief.

  119. paulie Post author

    If the three year old puts a rubber band on the dog’s tail and I swat him on the butt does that constitute a violation of the non aggression principle?

    Conceivably, if he or she is a child star or genius and can self-support financially, as well as unusually mature enough to accept adult consequences for actions, it could be. But in the case of the overwhelming majority of children, especially very young children, it isn’t.

    With teenagers, the line becomes blurred more frequently, and some can (and do) become emancipated minors.

  120. Thomas L. Knapp

    Michael,

    Human beings have always had government — and in an anarchist society, they still will.

    Anarchism does not oppose government, it opposes a particular form of government, the state. If you’d like to discuss the difference, we can.

  121. Susan Hogarth

    I’m not running for president “as an anarchist” any more than I order pizza “as an anarchist.”

    Hey, I always order pizza as an anarchist!

  122. Michael H. Wilson

    Nah Tom. I’ve had the discussion more than once over some 30 years. It just gets me how often we go around and around on this issue, or some variation of it.

    Personally the guy who told me putting diapers on a child was an act of aggression I think had it down best, at least humor wise. And he was serious.

    MW

  123. Brian Holtz

    Tom, I just don’t see tax dollars funding courts as an attempt to adjust the wealth levels of judges, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc. in relation to those paying the taxes. If you see it differently, we’ll just have to chalk this up to one of us needing to visit the optometrist.

    This is the first I’ve heard of you warning that we cannot be confident that protection markets will operate under anarchy as Rothbard et al. assured us they would. Again, welcome to the team.

    It was amusing enough @1 when Susan tried to discover a taxation ban buried in the Platform’s injunction against wealth redistribution. It’s even more amusing for you to cloak yourself with this morsel of Platform backing even while you admit (as you just did) that this injunction must then also rule out all government efforts to “redistribute” stolen property back to its rightful owner. If you guys unearth any more hidden meanings in the Platform, please let us on PlatCom know. 🙂

    For your claim that statism has “obviously and miserably failed to grapple with” social problems, see our earlier discussion e.g. http://more.libertarianintelligence.com/2008/11/somalia-is-calling-but-anarchists-dont.html .

    Susan, the problem with self-governance isn’t just that some people aren’t very good at it. The bigger problem is that most people are /too/ good at it, and their rational self-interest leads inevitably to massive market failure in 1) underproduction of non-rival non-excludable goods and 2) overconsumption of rival non-excludable goods. Details at:
    http://libertarianmajority.net/do-markets-under-produce-public-goods
    http://libertarianmajority.net/can-torts-police-all-negative-externalities

  124. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    “Tom, I just don’t see tax dollars funding courts as an attempt to adjust the wealth levels of judges, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc. in relation to those paying the taxes. If you see it differently, we’ll just have to chalk this up to one of us needing to visit the optometrist.”

    You’re confusing motive with effect. A redistribution in fact does not necessarily require a specifically redistributive intent. The redistribution is incidental to featherbedding, rent-seeking, etc.

    “This is the first I’ve heard of you warning that we cannot be confident that protection markets will operate under anarchy as Rothbard et al. assured us they would. Again, welcome to the team.”

    The Holtz technique:

    – Accuse others of making claims they’ve never made.

    – When they note that they’ve never made those claims, pretend that what they’re actually doing is renouncing those claims.

    – Based on this pretense, “welcome” a fictitious defection from the non-existent strawman side of the argument to Holtz’s side of the argument.

  125. Robert Capozzi

    Paulie @ 134, interpreting metaphors is of course an individual thing. Since the song mentions “connection” and “drugstore,” what you “want” is a pretty discrete thing, in this case, a certain drug. Mr. Jimmy is out of X, but he does have Y.

    Tilting at quixotic windmills is certainly grand, perhaps exhilirating. If you’re getting what you “need” doing so, bully!

    During my lifetime, however, the State’s gotten nothing but bigger, so for me I prefer a more discrete goal-setting approach. And, yes, I do suggest that’s a more effective approach, at least in theory. Dreaming grand dreams has it’s place, but then it seems we should ground those dreams before setting out to meet Dulcinea, to mix metaphors.

  126. Robert Capozzi

    Knappster @ 137, all’s I can say is COOL!!!!

    You may reject the label, but you’re sounding awfully TAAAL-ist to me. You’re even sounding Taoist, recognizing that there are appropriate levels of inquiry. Say something nice about Hayek’s insight on constructivism, and I may be forced to support your campaign!!!

  127. Melty

    and a lot o Libertarians just LUV to argue . . . i mean, to state the obvious

    I wonder, do Greens bicker like LPers? I get an impression of such like-mindedness from them. Maybe I’m wrong.

  128. Robert Capozzi

    Melty, we of the Rodney King Caucus don’t “argue,” we “share ideas.” Sometimes that appears to be an “argument,” but disagreements need to be vented, not swept under the rug. It’s all part of the conflict resolution process, and, yes, Greens tell me they do it, too.

  129. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I must still decline the “Asymptotic” portion of the label.

    I’m not a practicing Taoist myself, but I (mis)managed a Taoist candidate’s 2008 presidential campaign and I’m cultivating a beard Lao Tzu would be proud of.

    I’m probably not quite as down on constructivism, or quite as up on tradition as the wellspring of spontaneous social order, as Hayek. I do, however, attempt to maintain a healthy skepticism of the former and a reasonable open-mindedness to the latter.

    Bob Dole, Bob Dole, Bob Dole …

  130. Robert Capozzi

    tk, take what you need and leave the rest. Hayekian traditionalism bores me, too. it’s one of the reasons I challenge the Rothbardian tradition in the LP every chance I get. the argument: “The Party was founded on NAP,” is singularly unimpressive to me. that a few hundred Randians and Rothbardians (somewhat redundant!) should be applauded for their efforts, but that doesn’t mean they nailed it in the early-to-mid 70s. Hardly, in fact.

    of course, one’s philosophical come-from is only part of what makes a good candidate. credibility and communication skills count for a LOT, too.

    not sure about the Bob Dole reference. no fan here. directionless technocrats need not apply.

  131. Susan Hogarth

    Susan, the problem with self-governance isn’t just that some people aren’t very good at it. The bigger problem is that most people are /too/ good at it, and their rational self-interest leads inevitably to massive market failure…

    This is an excellent statement of the essential gulf between us, Brian. You evidently believe that rational self-interest leads “inevitably to massive market failure”, while I do not.

    Frankly, I’m not sure how the idea that *rational* self-interest could lead to misery works, logically. It seems contradictory: self-interest leads to Bad Things. Hmm…. It’s surely not in my interest to have “massive market failure”.

    But here’s the part where I really flounder – how can you expect the same people whose exercise of so-called self-interest (I’m not going to call it ‘rational’ because of the objection I made above to the logic of it) leads to ‘massive market failure’ to work together using government and not have it lead to ‘massive government failure’?

    Same people. Same interests. It seems to me that the question is do we want to give some very *irrational* people control over a big portion of our lives?

  132. Robert Capozzi

    sh: It seems to me that the question is do we want to give some very *irrational* people control over a big portion of our lives?

    bc: hmm, it strikes me that those in government are not necessarily “very irrational” at all. How would you measure such a thing? Charles Manson irrational? ALL of them? Of course, public choicers might say that those in government are being QUITE rational. Consider a term like “misguided.” Some highly misguided, others less so.

    And, then there’s your “big” assertion. Depends of course on what your definition of “big” is. Is 1% “big”? 10%? Seems obvious that Brian and virtually all members of the LP was it smaller, much smaller, yes?

  133. Susan Hogarth

    hmm, it strikes me that those in government are not necessarily “very irrational” at all.

    It was probably stupid of me to mix the colloquial meaning of ‘irrational’ into the discussion.

    My point was that if we cannot trust individuals to exercise rational self interest in a positive way through the market (defining ‘market’ as voluntary workspace), how can we expect individuals working in government (defining ‘government’ as ‘involuntary’ or even ‘less voluntary workspace’) to give positive results?

    And, then there’s your “big” assertion.

    Revised:

    It seems to me that the question is do we want to give some people control over any portion of our lives?

    Satisfied?

    I will note that in practice, I believe that we cannot ‘give’ someone control over ourselves voluntarily. We can, however, try to exercise such control over others through assignments of power. Then we get caught in the mousetrap!

  134. Brian Holtz

    Tom, the platform language you cited was about “all efforts by government to redistribute wealth”. That’s clearly about intent. QED.

    In August of 2007, in response to my claim that a stateless free market would underproduce public (non-rival non-excludable) goods like justice for the poor/weak, you said: TK) Still waiting for evidence of either the existence of such goods, or of “under-production,” “catastrophic” or otherwise, of such goods by the free market. (TK That sounded to me like a denial that there’s any reason to believe that protection markets wouldn’t work as Rothbardians advertise in the absence of the State. Next time, don’t accuse me of pretense or straw men unless you have a better idea of what is and isn’t in my laptop’s search index. 🙂

    Susan, the idea of rational self-interest leading directly to systematic market failure is in every macroeconomics textbook. See e.g. “tragedy of the commons” or “free rider problem”. Such failures can even happen in a micro context, for example the Prisoner’s Dilemma or the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_paradox (discovered in 1970 by Amartya Sen, helping him win the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics).

    I’ve never said there’s no such thing as massive government failure. What I say is that we have existence proofs of how government failure can be limited and reduced in cases involving multiple decades and entire continents and hundreds of millions of people and multi-trillion-dollar economies and history’s highest population densities and history’s highest living standards and history’s greatest inter-society disparities in living standards and history’s cheapest transportation technologies and history’s most destructive weapons technologies. By contrast, the proposed existence proofs for limiting market failure under anarchism are a few medieval societies that come up short by at least four orders of magnitude on every single criterion I listed above.

    America is surely the freest, most prosperous, and most secure society in human history. Even so, we have detailed, redundant, and current empirical evidence backing up the mainstream findings of modern economic science about how libertarian reforms within the state’s framework can make America even more free and even more prosperous. Anarcholibertarians have nothing of the kind to support their moralizing a priori claim that America would be a better place if we completely dismantled our system of rights protection in favor of a promise by liberty-lovers to set a good example of aggression abstinence.

    Every single episode in which there wasn’t a monopoly on force-initiation over a region becomes a test case for anarcholibertarianism. You can’t complain that any given experiment in anarchy wasn’t set up right, because the whole point of anarchy is that there is no central authority to configure it. Despite the literally hundreds of such test cases (viz., everywhere there ever has been organized crime or protection rackets), the only purported successes advanced for the theory involve just thousands of pre-industrial farmers sprinkled sparsely across medieval Iceland and Ireland and the frontier of colonial Pennsylvania. In contrast to how even bastard forms of minarchism have been so spectacularly successful compared to all other significant social experiments, the track record of anarcholibertarianism is simply embarrassing. That’s why 99.99% of anarcholibertarians are armchair anarcholibertarians, not applied anarcholibertarians. Somalia is calling, but anarchists let it go to voice mail.

    I don’t say we should give government “control over a big portion of our lives”. I’m a minarchist, not a bigarchist. I want to completely abolish the government’s control over healthcare, education, banking, housing, agriculture, entertainment, employment, etc. I believe the only role for government authority is to protect life, liberty, and property, keeping the market as free as possible from initiated force. That’s a political vision that (unlike anarcholibertarianism) is completely consistent with both mainstream economics and America’s constitutional heritage. Anarchists should nevertheless support that vision, because a small government is easier to abolish than a big one.

    Contra Paulie’s bargaining strategy above, we won’t get to a smaller government by asking to abolish government. That’s like thinking you can get the best price from a car dealer by asking for a free car.

  135. Rocky Eades

    @ #143 – Brian writes: “Tom, I just don’t see tax dollars funding courts as an attempt to adjust the wealth levels of judges, bailiffs, corrections officers, etc. in relation to those paying the taxes. If you see it differently, we’ll just have to chalk this up to one of us needing to visit the optometrist.”

    Once again, forgive my ignorance, but would it not be the case that before wealth was stolen from taxpayers and given to judges, etc. that those judges, etc didn’t have that same wealth? Before taxation Party A had some amount of wealth, Party B didn’t have that same wealth; after taxation Party A doesn’t have some amount of wealth, Party B has the wealth that Party A had before taxation. What am I missing?

  136. Rocky Eades

    @ #157 Brian writes: “That’s like thinking you can get the best price from a car dealer by asking for a free car.”

    Man, I know I didn’t get much sleep and, therefore, I’m pretty slow on the uptake this morning, but I’m pretty sure that car dealer isn’t going to send armed men to take money from me at the point of a gun and force me to buy his car – which I would have no choice, if I needed a car, but to do because he has already sent men with guns to force other car dealers from providing alternative purchase options to potential buyers. Or am I wrong about that?

  137. Michael H. Wilson

    Brian @ 157 “America is surely the freest, most prosperous, and most secure society in human history. ”

    I think you need to check your facts. Much depends on who you are speaking about. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Other nations have a higher per capita income and the rate of crime in America is higher than other nations as well.

  138. Brian Holtz

    Rocky, what you’re missing is the fact that courts are not set up because somebody said “hey, how can we adjust the wealth levels of Peter and Paul? I know, let’s tax Peter, and make Paul a judge so we justify giving Peter’s wealth to him.”

    Paulie’s bargaining advice at @134 had no caveats about the relative bargaining power of the two parties. In fact, my car-buying analogy is too generous to the anarchist side, because we tend to assume that a car buyer has enough money to buy a car at some plausible price. By contrast, the anarchist sliver of our splinter LP party has no bargaining power whatsoever to bring to the size-of-government negotiating table.

    Polls show that fully 13% to 20% of Americans want both more economic freedom and more economic freedom (i.e. smaller government), while anarchists never show up in any poll I’ve ever seen. So given the political bargaining power of anarchists, my analogy would be more accurate if the person asking for a free car was somebody who the car dealer knows is broke.

  139. paulie Post author

    During my lifetime, however, the State’s gotten nothing but bigger, so for me I prefer a more discrete goal-setting approach. And, yes, I do suggest that’s a more effective approach, at least in theory. Dreaming grand dreams has it’s place, but then it seems we should ground those dreams before setting out to meet Dulcinea, to mix metaphors.

    I think we grew up in the same general vicinity, so you may recognize this one:

    If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

    The way we said it, it actually said more than the literal meaning of the words. Sort of like more along the lines of, ask for more than what you really expect to get. I’m not sure if there’s an exact way to explain it to people, but I think you may be already familiar with it.

  140. Brian Holtz

    Michael, according to four leading indices of freedom (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_indices_of_freedom), only 14 nations (out of almost 200) are currently more free than America. Note that those 14 edge America only in the category of “press freedom”. Those 14 include the UK (which is much worse on state secrets) and Germany (cf. holocaust deniers), so I’d say we’re even freer than what the composite index suggests.

    I of course agree that we could be much more free, but I invite you to check your own facts and give us a comprehensive freedom index that doesn’t list America among the freest societies in human history. When you add my other two predicates of prosperity and security, I think my statement stands. (Last time I checked, our per-capita GDP was exceeded only by Norway and Luxembourg.)

  141. paulie Post author

    recognizing that there are appropriate levels of inquiry

    I’m with that.

    Say something nice about Hayek’s insight on constructivism,

    Self-generating order is preferable to externally generated order. Attempts to externally impose order on natural as well as social systems are likely to backfire.

  142. paulie Post author

    I wonder, do Greens bicker like LPers? I get an impression of such like-mindedness from them. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Greens can bicker quite a bit.

  143. paulie Post author

    Susan @ 140, me? I put my Taoist, Hayekian TAAAL-ism aside completely when ordering pizza. Just a hungry dude looking for good manga.

    “Whatever you’re getting the most calls for tonight” doesn’t appeal much to me. Although sometimes I do ask for, and take, suggestions from waiters.

  144. paulie Post author

    a few hundred Randians and Rothbardians (somewhat redundant!) should be applauded for their efforts, but that doesn’t mean they nailed it in the early-to-mid 70s.

    I think Karl Hess came closest to nailing it of anyone around that time, whatever “it” is.

  145. paulie Post author

    one’s philosophical come-from is only part of what makes a good candidate. credibility and communication skills count for a LOT, too.

    The biggest insight most Libertarians miss.

  146. robert capozzi

    sh: It seems to me that the question is do we want to give some people control over any portion of our lives?

    bc: better put, but I’d suggest poor persuasion. most people would say something along the lines, “Well, I don’t about ‘control,’ but I like that we have defense, courts, cops and roads.”

    your absolutist rhetorical question then backfires, putting you on the defensive, spinning out the prospect of highly theoretical or dogmatic sounding alternatives to State-provided peacekeeping functions. IMO, as always.

  147. Rocky Eades

    Brian, the argument could just as easily be made that welfare distribution was not set up with the INTENT of adjusting the wealth levels of Peter and Paul either. It was set up in order to adjust the wealth levels of Paul; it was just one of those “unintended consequences” that it was necessary to adjust the wealth level of Peter as well.

    Taking my wealth and redistributing it to someone I do not know – and would probably not give it to voluntarily – in order that he might “provide” a service which I do not want or would not otherwise choose to purchase from him is no different than taking my wealth and giving it to someone I don’t know for NOT providing a service which I might not “purchase” from him otherwise.

  148. paulie Post author

    Contra Paulie’s bargaining strategy above, we won’t get to a smaller government by asking to abolish government. That’s like thinking you can get the best price from a car dealer by asking for a free car.

    That isn’t my strategy.

    If you want to use car prices as an analogy, I aim to get the best deal possible, not just to negotiate the dealer down to the blue book value (in this case, constitutionalism). If I could get a free car, I’d take it, not insist on making a token payment; this is implicit in every car price negotiation. It’s also fairly well understood by both sides that in the vast majority of cases, that is not an option.

  149. Rocky Eades

    @ #163 Brian said: “(Last time I checked, our per-capita GDP was exceeded only by Norway and Luxembourg.)”

    And after the fed and treasury get through, our GDP will be much higher than either of those two countries. Hooray us! We’re # 1!

  150. paulie Post author

    I’m pretty slow on the uptake this morning, but I’m pretty sure that car dealer isn’t going to send armed men to take money from me at the point of a gun and force me to buy his car – which I would have no choice, if I needed a car, but to do because he has already sent men with guns to force other car dealers from providing alternative purchase options to potential buyers. Or am I wrong about that?

    You’re right, but that’s besides the point of Brian’s swipe at my bargaining strategy with the state. Sure, we could say that we don’t negotiate with terrorists, but we don’t have a lot of choice in the matter – we’re the hostages.

  151. paulie Post author

    Brian @ 157 “America is surely the freest, most prosperous, and most secure society in human history. ”

    I think you need to check your facts. Much depends on who you are speaking about. America has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Other nations have a higher per capita income and the rate of crime in America is higher than other nations as well.

    There are numerous measures of freedom; I’m not sure how to pick one “the best” or “the worst” so easily.

    Europe (or at least parts of it) is somewhat more free with sex and drugs, certain East Asian nations have greater ease of business formation, Peshawar has an individual gun owning culture that puts the US to shame (as does Switzerland, although I think that’s somewhat tied to mandatory military training)…it’s possible that the US has the best combination of all factors, but I guess that depends on how you weigh them.

  152. Michael H. Wilson

    For your entertainment Brian try these on. I don’t rely on wikipedia simply because it is too often incomplete, or wrong.

    –http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_gro_nat_inc_percap-gross-national-income-per-capita

    #1 Luxembourg: $37,499.20 per person
    #2 Switzerland: $36,987.60 per person
    #3 Japan: $35,474.10 per person
    #4 Norway: $35,053.30 per person
    #5 United States: $33,070.30 per person

    And for Freedom of the Press try
    http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/fop08/FOTP2008Tables.pdf

    Who’s# 1?

    None of this does any good for the kid in East St. Louis who is busted for holding a joint, or can’t get a job because of some regulation.

    We libs tend to be too glid with stats and are too often generalist. We fail to dig into an issue and go for the real red meat.

    Like I said we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. And that ain’t because we are free.

    MW

    Civil Liberties
    Economic Freedom

  153. paulie Post author

    my analogy would be more accurate if the person asking for a free car was somebody who the car dealer knows is broke.

    Perhaps. But if you’re broke and want a car, what other way do you have to get it (not including stealing or no longer being broke)?

  154. paulie Post author

    I like that we have defense, courts, cops and roads.

    So do I. I just don’t like the artificial monopoly on them.

    All of them have been provided privately in various times and places. Even today, 70% of roads in the US are built privately, and a smaller number operated privately; we have private arbitration (and the UK in the 19th century had a system of private courts); we have security guards and neighborhood watches – in short, none of these functions have to be monopolized.

  155. robert capozzi

    pc, if you view yourself as a “hostage,” then you are one. so is everyone else in that case, except perhaps the Somalians. Even W is now a hostage.

    I don’t view myself a hostage. We live in a great country in a great time (despite the current climate). But, good golly, things could be SO much better for all with more liberty.

    Half full glass-type here.

  156. paulie Post author

    And after the fed and treasury get through, our GDP will be much higher than either of those two countries. Hooray us! We’re # 1!

    I’m not sure that’s the case when state and local taxes are considered.

    Also, what about tax havens such as the Caymans?

  157. Susan Hogarth

    better put, but I’d suggest poor persuasion.

    Sorry, Bob, I thought I was having a discussion with some fellow Libertarians and libertarian-minded peeps, not out on the campaign trail. I’m still working on getting Libertarians to agree that freedom is a Good Thing 🙂

  158. Brian Holtz

    Michael, I didn’t say we are “free”; I said we are more free/prosperous/secure than any others ever. The way to competently disagree with my statement is to say “X has been (or was) more enduringly free, prosperous, and secure than America” for some significant society X in human history. If you don’t name us your X, you’re just not disagreeing with me. Care to try?

    The only non-embarassing candidate I can think of for X is Switzerland. If that’s your move, then I’d be happy to settle for #2 and point out that Switzerland is a minarchist success too.

    Paulie, I’m glad to hear your modified advice is “ask for the stars unless the stars are not an option”. Well, my judgment is that no state is not an option, so your advice just doesn’t work on people who don’t already agree with you.

    Rocky, it would be silly to pretend that taxation isn’t mostly means-tested. Your “no different” assertion is non-sensical to the extent that it even parses, and your subsequent comment is simply ignorant of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity. If I ignore any subsequent comments from you, it’s because I think they undercut my case even less than your latest ones do.

    Michael, if you go by Purchasing Power Parity, then in per-capita GDP the U.S. tops Switzerland (and trounces Japan) no matter if you use data from the IMF, World Bank, or CIA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita. In all three data sets, the only non-city non-oil-kingdom nation that tops America is Norway. QED, inasmuch as none of this GDP quibbling puts the slightest dent in the point I was making.

  159. paulie Post author

    Paulie, I’m glad to hear your modified advice is “ask for the stars unless the stars are not an option”. Well, my judgment is that no state is not an option, so your advice just doesn’t work on people who don’t already agree with you.

    Not quite sure how we derived that loop.

    In a negotiation with captors (even in a gilded cage), my first choice is to be released. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t ask for better conditions whenever possible.

  160. robert capozzi

    susan, I might suggest that virtually all Ls think freedom is a Good Thing…I certainly do. I don’t think that a ROAD WARRIOR scenario is attractive, however, even if it’s “free” compared with even the current state of affairs.

  161. paulie Post author

    The “road warrior” scenario is fiction, although there may indeed be a chaotic transition (or not – depending on how we arrive at anarchy).

  162. Susan Hogarth

    there may indeed be a chaotic transition (or not – depending on how we arrive at anarchy)

    A young voluntaryist friend of mine described the forecast for the future as “a short period of chaos, followed by anarchy”.

  163. Bryan

    I know this post is about done, but I would be interested to see the opinions…

    In a much earlier comment Paulie posted a link (to a rather extensive collection) and after reading several of the articles, and the comments here, the topic of co-operatives really didn’t appear.

    I feel that in an anarchist state, joining or forming a c0-op would be in my best interests for a number of reasons. As a group we could negotiate better contracts for security and fire protection. For parents there could be a co-op school (several homeschoolers in my area have done something similar already), where they could share resources, knowledge and experience.

    The co-op could negotiate contracts for water, sewer, waste disposal etc… And if the lions share of the “town” joined the co-op, we could, as a group retain the roads as they are, and get better deals on contracts for their maintenance.

    Membership in this co-op would be absolutely voluntary, and for a fee you could participate in any one or combination of services. Also competition would naturally be allowed, if you can get a better deal on your own…go for it.

    (I know this is going to take a hit) Because this co-op would include hundreds if not thousands of members, there would have to be a co-op office with 2-3 employees, and representatives would have to be selected (elected?) to negotiate the best contracts and make sure they were being carried out.

    Basically what I am describing is a privatized, free market, state within your stateless society.

    Before my comment is dismissed as drivel, keep in mind what I wrote earlier…my best interest. A large group can negotiate a better contract for security, fire protection, road maintenance, etc..than a lone individual. If you don’t believe this, you need a refresher course in economics and finance.

    I think the Constitution has been ignored but isn’t wrong. I see the government as flawed but not the enemy. I know I am to be called a Constitutionalist and “statist”…oh well… What I am looking for are positive results, something I have a chance of at least seeing to start in my lifetime…

  164. robert capozzi

    pc and sh, what we have now is a self-correcting web of competing chaos states that is at once stabilized and stultified by the State, as I see it. Odds are high that will be the case for millenia, although it will often appear to be collapsing, as it is now, for ex. Most anarchoLs seem to expect catastrophic system failure, so perhaps this is part of the difference in perspectives in the LP. I’ll cop to being a catastrophizer in the late 70s, though that didn’t happen, thankfully, though conditions were worse than now.

    System failure COULD happen. Total chaos COULD ensue. But I still can’t fathom how anarchos believe that anarchy’s just around the corner…seems a Grand Canyon leap to me. If the grid fails, I’m not seeing starving multitudes huddling together reading HUMAN ACTION aloud whilst clutching their gold and guns.

    It’s just so far fetched.

    School me.

  165. Susan Hogarth

    Basically what I am describing is a privatized, free market, state within your stateless society.

    Umm, yes.

    They might choose an elective system, or an hereditary system, or a direct-democracy system, or whatever. But the point is that they would *choose*. Each would choose, individually, to have that system. If he changed his mind, he could leave the system. If the land belonged to the organization, he’d have to leave it. If it belonged to the individual, he could stay.

    The Constitution never set up a system remotely like this. The presumption behind the current USG is that the state owns all the land and we are allowed to live here at its sufferance.

    Read Spooner on the Constitution sometime. You may not agree with him, but I guarantee you’ll find him interesting!

  166. paulie Post author

    Odds are high that will be the case for millenia, although it will often appear to be collapsing, as it is now, for ex.

    I don’t know that we have any way of making odds as to what is likely for millenia.

    For example, see:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?m=1

    as well as various environmental and other doomsday/collapse scenarios, etc.

    But I still can’t fathom how anarchos believe that anarchy’s just around the corner…seems a Grand Canyon leap to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibria

  167. Susan Hogarth

    Most anarchoLs seem to expect catastrophic system failure…

    Got data for that, or just anecdote? Do you include me in the ‘most’?

    I’ll cop to being a catastrophizer in the late 70s…

    Think it’s possible your perspective on voluntaryists is skewed by the fact that you personally have rejected voluntaryism?

  168. robert capozzi

    There’s a reason why co-ops tend to fail: Lack of incentive. Because ownership and claims on residual profits are diffuse, incentives to optimize efficiency are weak. Democratizing decision making doesn’t work to well.

    Personally, I like the feel of a co-op, but they tend to lack economies of scale, which is where most P&L leverage resides.

  169. robert capozzi

    susan, no data, lots of observation. I read LRC, for ex., and that Chicken Little crew’d have us heading for the hills yesterday. I’ve not seen YOU catastrophize, no. You quoted a catastrophizer, though.

    I love voluntaryists! I just don’t buy some of their ideas, some of which don’t work for me any longer.

  170. robert capozzi

    pc, I’m not sure natural science ports to social orders all that well. Still, my read is human history is almost always marked by gradual change, with occasional shifts and watershed events. As we’re wired to be at once simplistic, polarizing, drama addicts AND reactionary change resisters, we are all challenged in our abilityto sort out the status quo, trends and meaningful trajectory breaks. Everything’s a “crisis” that requires some sort of “war” response. Over time, the “crisis” passes, as all things do.

    This is why I suggest the way of peace and moderation should be the default position for Ls. Not only would it differentiate us from the bi-polar Rs and Ds. Contributing to the cacophony’s contra-indicated.

  171. paulie Post author

    occasional shifts and watershed events

    Exactly.

    There’s also the accelerating pace of change lately.

    Predictions about what will happen over millenia seem to be pure guesses.

  172. Brian Holtz

    Bryan, the best discussion about co-ops that I’ve found is in Fred Foldvary’s book “Public Goods and Private Communities”, well summarized at http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=479. Foldvary describes some very clever ways to bundle club goods and even public goods with land holdings in private communities, but to me they seem either unrealistic or nearly indistinguishable from properly-decentralized local governments with secession rights. If a community of landholders wants to enjoy the usual physical-network natural monopolies — streets, pipes, wires — then the only way I see to avoid monumentally-inefficient redundancy is with a local monopoly whose pricing power is indistinguishable from the power to tax.

    Paulie, where did you live before your “captors” dragged you to America, and how are they keeping you here? 🙂 Yes, the government commits aggression, but not all aggression counts as kidnapping. Calling the U.S. government your “captor” may feel good, but it arguably undermines the efforts of others to end that aggression. Even on the terms of your analogy, I don’t know of any hostages who ever won their release simply by demanding it. The bargaining analogy won’t float no matter how you try to patch it. A better analogy is to a prisoner of conscience (or martyr), in which case you should not tolerate the presence in the LP of we minarchists who dispute your central ethical premise. Why shouldn’t you anarchists try to purge anyone you don’t think you’ll ever convert to anarchism? Are you so optimistic as to think I’d ever become an anarchist?

    Bob, I agree: most anarcholibertarians I interact with seem to think that anarchotopia is much more likely to be preceded by the collapse of a near-maximal state, rather than by the fading away of a minimal one. What I don’t understand is why catastrophist anarcholibs bother with electoral politics at all — except perhaps to help a maxarchist party and thus hasten the End Times. As for non-catastrophist anarcholibs, they need to answer Charles Johnson’s question: why cooperate with minarchists who will likely turn around and shoot you when you try to abolish their minarchotopian state? The only practical reason I can think of for an anarchist to join a political party is to promote the sort of radical decentralism that might allow local experiments in anarchy. Otherwise, politics would seem to be self-expression merely for its own sake, and so the Party should proudly call itself anarchist and purge all statists. More at http://libertarianintelligence.com/2008/01/anarchist-questions-freedom-train.html

  173. Susan Hogarth

    Bob, I agree: most anarcholibertarians I interact with seem to think that anarchotopia is much more likely to be preceded by the collapse of a near-maximal state, rather than by the fading away of a minimal one.

    I’d be surprised if you haven’t read Vernor Vinge (assuming you enjoy fiction). He presents both scenarios in various stories, sometimes in an oddly mix-n-match fashion.

    In one scenario, people visit the Republic of New Mexico and go to sessions of the legislature as a sort of tourist attraction. They think it’s funny, except when the NM gov’t gets out of line and needs to be whipped a bit. Sort of the way Americans tend to view the British monarchy.

  174. paulie Post author

    Paulie, where did you live before your “captors” dragged you to America, and how are they keeping you here? 🙂

    1) The USSR, and then briefly in Austria and Italy on a temporary basis. And it’s not a matter of where or whether I lived elsewhere; if the US was the only country in the world, ‘captors’ would still be correct so long as there is a non-concensual government over me.

    2) They are preventing me from leaving by charging me for the exit papers, and demanding that I use a number that I don’t use out of principle to obtain such papers. However, even if I temporarily compromise on this account, where would I move to, and why should I have to?


    Yes, the government commits aggression, but not all aggression counts as kidnapping. Calling the U.S. government your “captor” may feel good, but it arguably undermines the efforts of others to end that aggression.

    I would argue it does the opposite.


    Even on the terms of your analogy, I don’t know of any hostages who ever won their release simply by demanding it. The bargaining analogy won’t float no matter how you try to patch it.

    Well, yes, some hostages have reasoned their kidnappers into letting them go, or had others do it. That’s what hostage negotiation is about. But even if that is never the case, it is understood that hostages or captives want to be released, even if it is never discussed.


    A better analogy is to a prisoner of conscience (or martyr), in which case you should not tolerate the presence in the LP of we minarchists who dispute your central ethical premise.

    As mentioned further up (I forget the comment numbers), there are different levels of goals that we seek simultaneously – sort of like

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs

    So, I’m fine with alliances that help me with some of my goals, even if not all of them.


    Why shouldn’t you anarchists try to purge anyone you don’t think you’ll ever convert to anarchism? Are you so optimistic as to think I’d ever become an anarchist?

    Why do you find it so absurd that I’d be so optimistic? Don’t you hold out some hope of converting me back to some kind of minarchism?

    most anarcholibertarians I interact with seem to think that anarchotopia is much more likely to be preceded by the collapse of a near-maximal state, rather than by the fading away of a minimal one.

    Personally, I don’t know which is more likely, although I don’t think there will be any anarchotopia (nor do I know anyone who does).

    What I don’t understand is why catastrophist anarcholibs bother with electoral politics at all — except perhaps to help a maxarchist party and thus hasten the End Times.

    1) Hedging bets
    2) Different levels of goals in different timeframes
    3) Seeking allies and converts through a variety of means – IE, some people would never consider anarchist ideas except for the political minarchist starting point.

    As for non-catastrophist anarcholibs, they need to answer Charles Johnson’s question: why cooperate with minarchists who will likely turn around and shoot you when you try to abolish their minarchotopian state?

    I’ve been meaning to read that essay, and still haven’t. But based on your description: we are far from that point, and the scenario can play out in any number of ways, some of which won’t involve shooting.

    The only practical reason I can think of for an anarchist to join a political party is to promote the sort of radical decentralism that might allow local experiments in anarchy.

    That’s a good one. Thanks.

  175. robert capozzi

    pc, read Shakespeare and then tell me the human condition has changed. I’d suggest it hasn’t, although it APPEARS to, what with all the tech change and media saturation. We lack perspective because we’re in the middle of the “storm.” We have more access to information, creating the illusion of titanic shifts, but while the players change, it’s all the same story, told over and over again.

  176. paulie Post author

    read Shakespeare and then tell me the human condition has changed. I’d suggest it hasn’t,

    Many things have changed socially and politically.

    Also, we are approaching a point where our technology can either transform us into something we may no longer recognize as human or produce tremendous consequences which set our civilization back to the stone age or end it completely.

    Have you read any of the Kurzweil stuff yet?

  177. Brian Holtz

    Paulie, I wrote in that discussion:

    BH) When pro-liberty voters boycott elections, that doesn’t weaken statism, it strengthens it. No state will ever be overthrown through boycott (i.e. personal secession). Your choices are either flight, revolt, geographic secession, reform, or surrender. You can pretend all you want that [boycotting electoral politics] is akin to revolt, but it looks, walks, and quacks like surrender. I’m not going to argue that anarchists should vote — i.e. pursue the reform option. I think any anarchist who actually believes what he says should pursue either flight, revolt, or geographic secession. (BH

    I wrote here:

    BH) The only practical reason I can think of for an anarchist to join a political party is to promote the sort of radical decentralism that might allow local experiments in anarchy. Otherwise, politics would seem to be self-expression merely for its own sake, and so the Party should proudly call itself anarchist and purge all statists. (BH

    Thus I think 1) wise delayed-gratification anarchists (e.g. Chuck Moulton?) should help out whatever party best promotes decentralism and smaller government, and not insist that the party avoid endorsing the existence of the state; and 2) unwise immediate-gratification anarchists should insist that their political party be explicitly anarchist and should not tolerate statists in their midst.

    Asking why anarchists don’t insist on purging statists is not nearly the same thing as advising anarchists to leave.

  178. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “In August of 2007, in response to my claim that a stateless free market would underproduce public (non-rival non-excludable) goods like justice for the poor/weak, you said: TK) Still waiting for evidence of either the existence of such goods, or of ‘under-production,’ ‘catastrophic’ or otherwise, of such goods by the free market. (TK That sounded to me like a denial that there’s any reason to believe that protection markets wouldn’t work as Rothbardians advertise in the absence of the State.”

    Then you have a tin ear. Arguing that you are incorrect is not the same as arguing that anyone else in particular is correct.

  179. paulie Post author

    Brian,

    You also wrote, among other things:

    ….Voting is in fact a form of self-defense, not voting is unilateral disarmament, and these “implicit consent” arguments are a form of surrender. For more, see Roderick Long’s Dismantling Leviathan From Within at http://libertariannation.org/a/f24l3.html#6.

    …..

    It’s a non sequitur to say that voting presupposes acceptance that the State should exist.

    …………

    The anarchist argument against social contract theory is that acts like residency and voting cannot be taken as consent.

    ………

    It must be nice to feel so secure in your liberty that you can practice this form of unilateral disarmament against the State. 🙂

    ………

    When pro-liberty voters boycott elections, that doesn’t weaken statism, it strengthens it.

    ……….

    1) wise delayed-gratification anarchists (e.g. Chuck Moulton?) should help out whatever party best promotes decentralism and smaller government, and not insist that the party avoid endorsing the existence of the state; and 2) unwise immediate-gratification anarchists should insist that their political party be explicitly anarchist and should not tolerate statists in their midst.

    I prefer a middle path between the two, since I am neither perfectly wise nor, I hope, a complete idiot:

    I’d like my party to not be either explicitly anarchist nor explicitly non-anarchist. It should aim its rhetoric exclusively at reducing, ridiculing, questioning, resisting and delegitimizing the excesses of the state, and we have a long way to go before that would necessitate attacking the minimal existence of functions of the nightwatchman state, if indeed we ever get there.

    Its candidates can individually answer that question either way if pressed, but would be best advised to redirect towards reducing the state as much as possible (there are any number of rhetorical devices for this).

    While I’m not eager to have true statists in our midst, if they remain such, I don’t consider minimal-statists as true statists in this regard.

    I tend to reserve that concept for those who want to maintain all or most of the present government, and in most cases expand at least some of its aspects.

    In fact, I’m not even too eager to use it for those people in most normal contexts; it really is best applied to those who would prefer a much larger and more powerful regime than what presently exists.

  180. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “As for non-catastrophist anarcholibs, they need to answer Charles Johnson’s question: why cooperate with minarchists who will likely turn around and shoot you when you try to abolish their minarchotopian state?”

    I can think of two reasons:

    1) The minarchotopian state, however repugnant to anarchists, is LESS repugnant, and therefore MORE attractive, to anarchists than the alternatives lying between it and the maxarchotopian state. It may not be worth staying with once reached, but it’s worth reaching toward, if any transition to anarchy is inevitably going to be gradual rather than instantaneous.

    2) Anarcholibs may believe that the transition toward and to minarchotopia will serve as a fertile recruitment ground for turning minarchists into anarchists … that by the time we get to minarchotopia, the minarchists will have decided to go further.

    “The only practical reason I can think of for an anarchist to join a political party is to promote the sort of radical decentralism that might allow local experiments in anarchy.”

    That’s not a bad reason. It’s one I can certainly live with.

    My reason is different:

    Among all the possible alternatives, I prefer a stateless society.

    However, I do not regard that possible alternative as an alternative which can be plausibly achieved in my lifetime.

    I put some effort into making my preferred possible alternative more plausible as time goes on (by evangelizing, mainly).

    I also put some effort into actually achieving some more currently plausible outcomes that I find preferable to the existing status quo.

    I expect to die in a society which is not stateless. I hope to die in a society which is less statist at that time than it is now, and in a society which finds statelessness more plausible than society does now.

  181. Robert Capozzi

    pc: I’d like my party to not be either explicitly anarchist nor explicitly non-anarchist. It should aim its rhetoric exclusively at reducing, ridiculing, questioning, resisting and delegitimizing the excesses of the state, and we have a long way to go before that would necessitate attacking the minimal existence of functions of the nightwatchman state, if indeed we ever get there.

    bc: you may “like” that, but on paper, it looks AWFULLY strange, especially to those not schooled in obscure L theories. …[g]overnments, when instituted…in the preamble comes to mind. this is odd, encoded anarcho code. good communications connects with people, anarcho code doesn’t.

    The Rodney King Caucus seeks a St. Louis Accord, where the LP shortens its linguistic time horizon to foreseeable futures, tabling theoretical endpoints. Care to sign on?

  182. paulie Post author

    good communications connects with people, anarcho code doesn’t.

    Which one was Harry Browne’s campaign?

    How about these press releases:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20041209100057/http://archive.lp.org/rel/

    ?

    The Rodney King Caucus seeks a St. Louis Accord, where the LP shortens its linguistic time horizon to foreseeable futures, tabling theoretical endpoints. Care to sign on?

    Maybe.

    Answer my question above (in this same comment), and I may be better equipped to answer yours.

  183. Bryan

    Susan, I did read one essay by Spooner regarding the Constitution, and yes, I did find it interesting. I will be reading more in the future.

    I must say that I am finding this entire discussion frustrating. You have people, such as myself, who are seeking to bring about reform in the system we live under. (Win elections, reduce government control, more liberty for us all)

    You have anarchists with various prefixes or suffixes who would easily/willingly join with people, such as myself, who see a Constitutional route as a road to a higher purpose.

    Finally you have Anarchists, who wish to see a stateless society…period. Anything that suggests gradual improvements seem to be unacceptable to them.

    I believe that TK (without going through 200+ posts) said the same thing in what I felt were less flattering terms.

    At the same time I have seen several “Rodney King” references. My question now would be…why can’t we get along?

    Without a catastrophic event, or through force which they are opposed to, Anarchists will not see their “vision” for decades (or centuries?).

    The “small a” anarchists, who I have seen are willing to work with those who believe in Constitutional methods for achieving their goals. (I got no problem with this)

    This leaves the “Constitutionalists”, and other big L Libertarians. This segment is larger than some Libertarians would like to admit. And most would be more than willing to work with the “small a’s” and even Anarchists in their pursuit of smaller government, lower taxes, and more liberty.

    The Libertarian Party seems to be the best alternative for all three of these groups. So…why can’t we just get along???

    I admit I am a “work in progress”…but Progress I Will.

  184. Susan Hogarth

    The Libertarian Party seems to be the best alternative for all three of these groups. So…why can’t we just get along???

    We do, really.

    All the argumentation is actually evidence of that. If we weren’t actively engaged with one another, we’d never get to this level of discussion. I seldom have substantive arguments with Greens, for instance.

  185. Thomas L. Knapp

    Yeah, what Susan said.

    If the varieties of ideological libertarians within the LP were really “enemies,” we wouldn’t see the level of real cooperation that actually continues.

    It gets pretty tense sometimes, but “the mystic chords that bind us,” as Lincoln put it, haven’t broken. Radicals, reformers, purists, moderates, etc. are still managing to work together well enough to put candidates on ballots, man tables at events, and even win a few elections and pick up popular support on some issues.

  186. Robert Capozzi

    pc, I don’t have a fully formed opinion of the Browne campaign, as I wasn’t paying much attn in those days. My IMPRESSION that, for an anarchist, he was about as accessible and non-threatening as it gets. I’ve seen reports that he was prone to loopy pronouncements like if government gets more involved in abortions, men will get abortions. Not funny, and not true, if he said anything like that. Very insensitive and grating, actually.

    My sampling of old press releases was that they were pretty good. I see Dasbach’s name on some of them, and I don’t know about then, but he may be the only other self-identified TAAAList, so I’m biased. (At least, during a Platcom meeting, he said “I’m one of those.”)

    Think s’more on a St. Louis Accord…the rallying cry is: Lessarchists of the world, unite.

  187. Robert Capozzi

    susan and tom, I agree with your take. There IS some cooperation among sub-school adherents.

    But, taking the long view, the LP hasn’t gotten nearly as far as its potential, in my judgment. Many of the factors that keep us small in numbers are out of our control.

    However, the Reform Party showed that there IS a need and demand for a challenger third party. A lessarchistic LP COULD fill that void, IMO. That would require tolerance of non-NAPster candidates and leadership.

    Of course, NAP anarchists could certainly co-exist in the LP. A vibrant, even loyal opposition, a caucus that emphasizes the works of Rothbard, Hoppe, Spooner, L. Neil Smith, without the call for non-NAP/ZAP-sters to walk into traffic.

    As the LP grows, your ranks would likely swell, too. More prospects!

    And Knapp’s approach — employing some asymptotic rhetoric — might even allow NAP/ZAPsters to run for high-profile offices without making shocking statements. Using Rothbardian terminology, one can advocate the transition plans and make general statements of what liberty means without specifically calling for legalizing crystal meth or State abolition tomorrow.

    I see the idea of a St. Louis Accord as a win-win-win. Please consider it.

  188. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    I’m not empowered to represent, or negotiate an accord on behalf of, any group. Nor would I want to be so empowered.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with “shocking statements,” as long as they don’t reflect shockingly bad ideas.

    In 2000, Harry Browne made a “shocking statement” on Bill Maher’s show. He opined that if the US really saw Saddam Hussein as a problem insoluble except through the use of force, it would be better to put a bounty on his head than to go to war with Iraq.

    Everyone sniffed and snorted about that statement and how crazy it made us look … but less than a year later, once the election was over, a Republican congresscritter introduced legislation to that exact effect (extra credit to anyone who can guess that congresscritter’s name — and no, it wasn’t Ron Paul).

    What started as a shocking statement by one of them there crazy Libertarians ended up as legislation. It didn’t pass (to the sadness of the families of 4,266 US military personnel as of today), but at least it got a chance to pass, and I believe that that congresscritter (time’s up — his name is Bob Barr) got that idea from Harry.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  189. Robert Capozzi

    Tom, I don’t find that one so shocking. Provocative, yes. We SHOULD be provocative, although in a non-threatening (to the US electorate) way.

    We want to provoke thought. We want people to think outside the box, at least some.

    Some Ls believe SS should end tomorrow. That’s an example of “shocking.” Unilateral disarmament is shocking. Selling all roads is shocking. Legalize crystal meth is shocking.

    Transition plans — steps in those directions — is not shocking. Doing so with good communicators, better still.

    I didn’t suggest you WERE empowered. But if people like you, Susan, Paulie, Holtz and I suggest it, that starts to get people’s attention, I suspect.

  190. paulie Post author

    I must say that I am finding this entire discussion frustrating. You have people, such as myself, who are seeking to bring about reform in the system we live under. (Win elections, reduce government control, more liberty for us all)

    You have anarchists with various prefixes or suffixes who would easily/willingly join with people, such as myself, who see a Constitutional route as a road to a higher purpose.

    Finally you have Anarchists, who wish to see a stateless society…period. Anything that suggests gradual improvements seem to be unacceptable to them.

    None of the last are in this discussion so far.

    That’s understandable, since the subject matter of the site tends to screen them out. If you want to read a sampling of some of the arguments in that discussion, try the Donelly link I mentioned a few comments further up.

    Without a catastrophic event, or through force which they are opposed to, Anarchists will not see their “vision” for decades (or centuries?).

    That’s not necessarily true. For example, a system of polycentric governance could emerge from the technological singularity (see Kurzweil link above). Also, as Brian mentioned, not all anarchists oppose catastrophic events. For instance, chemotherapy is a catastrophic event for a body.

    The Libertarian Party seems to be the best alternative for all three of these groups. So…why can’t we just get along?

    Anti-political anarchists tend to consider participation in electoral politics as being about the same as joining the mafia or the KKK, or worse.

    None of the people participating in the discussion so far has taken that position, because they are unlikely to be here to begin with, but I could try to round some up for you – or point you to some places where they hang out.

    There are also some people who insist that anarchists can’t be libertarians. As far as I remember, no one has argued on behalf of that position so far in this thread.

    So, to my knowledge, everyone participating in this discussion so far has agreed that anarchists and proponents of a night watchman state can and should work together in the LP.

    The subject discussed has been whether the LP should be officially taking stances that preclude anarchy.

  191. paulie Post author

    Neglected to mention this in my last comment:

    Not all anarchists who work within electoral politics prefer the LP. I know some who are Republicans or Democrats, for example. Some because they view their party of choice as the lesser evil; some because they see it as the greater evil and want to hasten a collapse of the system.

    There used to be some in the Green Party, and maybe still are – I don’t know.

    But, so far we haven’t heard from any of those in this discussion yet either.

  192. paulie Post author

    I seldom have substantive arguments with Greens, for instance.

    I’ve had a few, and found them interesting. Looking forward to more.

  193. paulie Post author

    My sampling of old press releases was that they were pretty good.

    I think so, too. They represent pretty much what I was talking about: not explicitly either anarchist or non-anarchist, but all about pointing out that the regime is way too big, too intrusive, etc. And I don’t think they were too difficult for non-libertarians to relate to.

    he may be the only other self-identified TAAAList, so I’m biased. (At least, during a Platcom meeting, he said “I’m one of those.”)

    Well, the terminology is a bit clunky, to be sure, but I’m kinda one of those too, at least at a certain level of my personal Maslow hierarchy.

    But I’m about as likely to try to popularize that terminology as I am to constantly refer to myself as an infinite-dimensional
    looping wave pattern.

    Think s’more on a St. Louis Accord…the rallying cry is: Lessarchists of the world, unite.

    I’m thinking that a good St. Louis accord would not contradict the Dallas accord.

    We both like the 1990s press releases, so there is at least one way of publicly presenting the party that works for both of us. How about we take that common ground and build on it?

  194. paulie Post author

    However, the Reform Party showed that there IS a need and demand for a challenger third party. A lessarchistic LP COULD fill that void, IMO.

    Got any multibillionaires lined up and ready to drop 9 figures on a cycle? Perot only dropped 8, but as a percentage of what the big boys spend, that would be 9 these days.

    And look how quickly it fizzled without his money or a firm ideological foundation. I don’t want that to be what the LP becomes. And I can easily see that happening as the LP’s moderation of its stances becomes a chain reaction that goes beyond where those in the Reform Caucus leadership intended.

    Actually, I don’t think we are even close to the point where ideology is the chief limiting factor in party growth. At this point, a strongly motivated base seems like a plus to me.

    Yes, there’s lots of demand for an alternative party, and there’s even lots of demand for a vaguely libertarian one. That does not, however, mean that there are lots of people willing to do the work and keep doing it after being repeatedly fishslapped with the reality of organizing an alternative party in a winner-takes-all political system.

    Again, the last alternative party to have more sustained success than the LP did so at a time when ballot access, money and media were vastly different.

    That would require tolerance of non-NAPster candidates and leadership.

    We do tolerate them – but it would be nice if they did not make pronouncements on behalf of the whole party that explicitly exclude our viewpoint.

    As the 1990s press releases demonstrate, there are ways to do that while being engaging toward the general public.

    And Knapp’s approach — employing some asymptotic rhetoric — might even allow NAP/ZAPsters to run for high-profile offices

    Yes, that was the standard approach of the LP during its recent peak (mid-late 90s). Might be a good approach to revive coming out of St. Louis?

  195. Robert Capozzi

    pc: …that was the standard approach of the LP during its recent peak (mid-late 90s). …

    bc: all due respect, but this is “small ball” analysis. perturbations of a few thousand members is meaningless. we need MILLIONS of members if we want to show up at the negotiating table. the old school is HIGHLY unlikely to work. we need a game changer.

    I happen to believe that Lessarchism + Rodney King-ism is the way, for it’s more consistent with the way of peace.

  196. Michael H. Wilson

    One of the most significant problems we have is in the sales and marketing end of our efforts. Over the last few years in an effort not to offend others the message has become watered down. We’ve ended up with almost nothing to say except to copy others. We are not leading the pack. Our website is behind the times on issues and our literature package is lacking. The literature package is going to change. That is being worked on.

    Classic example: the issue piece on foreign policy on the website has a piece written by Michael Tanner some years ago. It is out of date and needs to be replaced. Whether you think we should abolish the Dept of Defense, or just withdraw troops from abroad neither is mentioned unless I am missing it.

    If you read the ads from grocery stores they don’t say “we sell groceries cheaper”. They mention certain specific items, eggs, milk, t-bone steaks, etc. that they sell and then say “cheaper”. We are almost afraid of mentioning the details for fear of offending.

    The website should promote a different issue each month, or quarter, In a big banner headline, or some variation on that. We need to emphasize the specifics and quit copying others. If Grover Norquist wants to “End the Death Tax” as he calls it fine. And maybe we can help, but let that be his issue. Let’s lead on other issues.

    I’m probably pissing into the wind on this. Now back to real work.

    MW

  197. paulie Post author

    all due respect, but this is “small ball” analysis. perturbations of a few thousand members is meaningless.

    Gotta crawl before we can walk, walk before we can run.

    No, I don’t think they had everything down perfectly back then. I’ve noted elsewhere some of my ideas on how to go further.

    But let’s at least start getting back to the level we were at ten years ago.

    Dreaming about millions of members is nice, but results are what count.

  198. robert capozzi

    pc, this assumes that press releases are indicative of strategy. I don’t.

    Neither approach was successful. the LP was tiny then, and tiny now. yet there are millions of lessarchists out there.

    why are they not in the LP? I happen to believe because the LP is positioned as a theory-oriented party, irrelevant to the public square debate. couple that with nasty, uncivil tone of discussion. (yes, there are others, but Perot proved that the nation’s imagination CAN be captured by a third party, despite the obstacles.)

    agreed that crawling comes first. we’re now crawling in circles, at a slow pace at that! I’m suggesting we pick a direction (lessarchy) and start crawling faster in that direction w/o all the carping and uncivility.

  199. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “[T]here are millions of lessarchists out there. Why are they not in the LP? I happen to believe because the LP is positioned as a theory-oriented party, irrelevant to the public square debate.”

    You may be right, but I’m not sure I see your point.

    It’s the “reformers” who go hysterical every time a “radical” makes a specific policy proposal that’s bolder than “hey, let’s put alittle more SALT on those fries,” preferring instead to have the LP quack about weird-ass, non-specific “minimization of net total aggression” theories.

    The “reformer” approach seems geared to attract as few people as possible, unless we’re hoping that a bunch of fascists notice we’re citing Pareto and hop on board the LP bandwagon.

  200. robert capozzi

    tom, you lost me. I’d think that fascists want to INCREASE the State’s size.

  201. Thomas L. Knapp

    Robert,

    Mussolini cited Pareto’s economics as foundational to his conception of fascism. Pareto supported the March on Rome and was appointed to the fascist Italian Senate.

    Whether he’d have gone for the whole-hog program that eventually resulted is an open question — he died only a year into Mussolini’s reign.

  202. robert capozzi

    Tom, interesting trivia. are you making a guilt by association point? Pareto optimality is an interesting THEORETICAL point, but that’s precisely my point: LPers tend to put too fine a point on the issues, precisely taking obscure theory and applying it with unyielding specificity. I’m suggesting a more reality-based approach. Ls would be able to suggest a range of proposals that point the way toward less government. Getting wrapped around our axles about theoretically precise notions like Pareto Optimality or a “moral,” completely coercion-free social order and such are untenable in real-world politics, and serves to ensure the LP’s irrelevance and non-viability in the ballot box.

    If we want to be taken seriously (or at least influential toward meaningful effects), Ivory Tower-isms won’t do.

  203. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “If we want to be taken seriously (or at least influential toward meaningful effects), Ivory Tower-isms won’t do.”

    I agree.

  204. paulie Post author

    this assumes that press releases are indicative of strategy. I don’t.

    I’m merely showing that it is possible to present libertarianism and the LP in a way that isn’t explicitly anarchist or non-anarchist, and can connect with the general public.


    Neither approach was successful. the LP was tiny then, and tiny now.

    There are different degrees of success.


    yet there are millions of lessarchists out there.

    Yes, but no one has given most of them any reason to join a party that “can’t win,” does not have a track record of electing people to major offices, does not have hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal, celebrities endorsing it, constant coverage on major networks, etc.

    Even for the few who can grasp the leverage that a smaller party can have, in most cases no one has even asked them to join. The party’s approach is very passive, in most cases waiting for people to come to it rather than the other way around, and is especially lacking in the most persuasive form of recruitment – face to face.

    Most people are more persuaded by things like passion, emotion, music, video and images, yet libertarian outreach materials are heavily oriented towards text and logic.

    Once people have joined, it doesn’t give them much reason to remain members – in most parts of the country, there is either no organized party activity, or a very passive approach of monthly supper clubs. Contrast this with the very active, outreach and recruiting oriented methods of the grassroots Ron Paul efforts.

    90% of people don’t change their party affiliation after age 30, yet there is very little effort to recruit the under-30 generation. In fact, the vast majority of such recruitment as does take place is geared towards the people least likely to change anything, including their party – conservatives, who also tend to be temperamentally as well as politically conservative.


    why are they not in the LP?

    See above. Just having somewhat, or even very, libertarian views is not enough reason for someone to join the LP.

    As I have said in previous comments here: ideology is far from being the only, or most important, factor in party recruitment. An ideologically based party can retain its purpose and cohesion more easily, and should resist attempts to lose its ideological basis, but that is just the first step – the hard part is all the additional elements that have little or nothing to do with ideology which constitute the nuts and bolts of politics.


    I happen to believe because the LP is positioned as a theory-oriented party, irrelevant to the public square debate.

    No, that’s not why.

    Millions of people want change, yet the Reform Party fizzled right after it sizzled.

    Millions of people want constitutionalism and/or a Christian state, yet there aren’t millions of CP members.

    There are millions of environmentalists, but not millions of Green Party members.


    couple that with nasty, uncivil tone of discussion.

    That’s one area where I completely agree with you. We should stop lashing out at each other and driving people away. I understand the frustration and feel it myself, but I’m making an effort to do better and hope others do too.


    (yes, there are others, but Perot proved that the nation’s imagination CAN be captured by a third party, despite the obstacles.)

    That, a folksy and personable candidate and a few billion dollars will buy you a place in the national debates, yes.


    agreed that crawling comes first. we’re now crawling in circles, at a slow pace at that!

    We’ve already proven we can do better. And there is good reason to believe we can do better than we’ve already proven.


    I’m suggesting we pick a direction (lessarchy) and start crawling faster in that direction w/o all the carping and uncivility.

    I agree with that. I don’t think anyone who’s participated in this discussion so far doesn’t.

  205. paulie Post author

    Bob,

    You write:

    “If we want to be taken seriously (or at least influential toward meaningful effects), Ivory Tower-isms won’t do.”

    I agree.

    And so do I.

  206. Michael H. Wilson

    In reply to the budget announcement from the DoD we should be calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Europe over the next five years and a phased withdrawal from Asia over the next ten years. Additionally in keeping with the Obama’s adminstrations focus on openness we should be demanding a report on how much the U.S. has spent since 1950 to maintain troops overseas and how much we will spend this coming fiscal year on troops in Europe and Asia.

    Now would such a release be too much for the”reformers”, or not enough for the “radicals”?

  207. robert capozzi

    mw, this “radical reformer” LOVES the idea of bringing our troops home, perhaps faster than you suggest. As a matter of tactics, the “since 1950” data would be interesting, but I’d not demand it. If Ls ever get to the negotiating table, we’d already have that number, although it’s a rearview mirror matter, a sunk cost. The go-forward savings would be WAY more interesting to me, and probably more persuasive.

  208. Michael H. Wilson

    Before this thread goes down the rabbit hole and this gets lost may I suggest that we need to write Donny Ferguson and Robert Kraus and get them to start asking the question. Specifically focus on the issue of openness that Obama has brought up.

    We also need to write our U.S. Senators and ask them for the same information. I did a couple of weeks ago and got vague non answers for replies. Maybe someone can raise the point on Facebook. I haven’t spent much time there and have little or no knowledge as to how to get a message across to a whole group, or passed a round and also am working on other stuff, like the state news letter that takes up much of the time I devote to the LP.

    Last, but not least maybe Tom can start asking the related questions as part of his campaign and spur others to do the same in their campaigns.

    I have a lot more to say on this, but I have a lot of other work to do first.

    I hate to ask for help, but was turned down elsewhere when I made a similar suggestion and if I could get some here to help in pushing this issue that would be grand

    Thanks.
    MW

  209. Robert Capozzi

    pc, if Perot had run pure Rothbardian campaigns: fetuses are parasites; zero taxation; legalize meth; abolish the State; abolish IP; etc., do you REALLY think he’d have done as well as he did?

    My understanding is he didn’t spend THAT much of his own money on his campaign and, yes, he did trade on his celebrity.

    But that’s not my point about what we can learn from the Perot phenomenon. He took edge-of-the-mainstream positions, and captured lots of people’s attention. He ran against the “major” parties.

    The Green Party doesn’t have all environmentalists for a lot of reasons. The Ds basically buy the green agenda SUFFICIENTLY for most environmentalists. And, they want and need the State to enact their agenda.

    The LP is different. We want to UNdo the State, which I suggest has implications.

    Marketing, positioning and politics is not a precise science. I guess my main point is: The LP has been positioned on the Extremist-Mainstream continuum on the edges of Extremism.

  210. paulie Post author

    if Perot had run pure Rothbardian campaigns: fetuses are parasites; zero taxation; legalize meth; abolish the State; abolish IP; etc., do you REALLY think he’d have done as well as he did?

    I haven’t suggested the Libertarian Party emphasize those themes. I’ve suggested it should run on the type of rhetoric in the 1990s press releases referenced above, and which Harry Browne ran on. If he had the financial resources, record of accomplishment, and folksy personality of Perot, and the media attention that came with it, yes, I think he could well have scored Perot-level results. It’s even possible he could have done better, without the Perot drop out/drop back in stunt.

    But even if he didn’t quite score that high due to his views, he would have still scored at the level that the Socialist Party was at its peak about a hundred years ago, and created a party which would elect mayors, state representatives, sheriffs, etc., all over the country (maybe some Governors and members of Congress), and forced the major parties to make major changes in our direction to head us off at the pass, as the Socialists did 70-100 years ago.

    My understanding is he didn’t spend THAT much of his own money on his campaign

    My recollection is 60 million. However, keep in mind also that this would be hundreds of millions today (as a percentage of what Democrats and Republicans spend).

    But that’s not my point about what we can learn from the Perot phenomenon. He took edge-of-the-mainstream positions, and captured lots of people’s attention. He ran against the “major” parties.

    And what happened to his party after he was gone? I don’t want to go there.

    The Green Party doesn’t have all environmentalists for a lot of reasons. The Ds basically buy the green agenda SUFFICIENTLY for most environmentalists. And, they want and need the State to enact their agenda.

    The LP is different. We want to UNdo the State, which I suggest has implications.

    Apparently, a lot of people are still laboring under the misconception that the Republican Party will undo the state enough (or that the Democrats will undo other aspects of the state such as the drug war, military-industrial complex, foreign occupations, domestic espionage, etc.)

    Keep in mind though, many people are well aware that the Democrats or Republicans don’t adequately represent them, that there are other choices closer to their views, yet they vote for what they think is the lesser evil of the two.

    Even if there was a party tailor made for them, this would still be the case for a lot of people.

    Marketing, positioning and politics is not a precise science. I guess my main point is: The LP has been positioned on the Extremist-Mainstream continuum on the edges of Extremism.

    My main point is that ideological positioning is not the most important factor in how well a party does. I listed some of the other factors in #235 and elsewhere. But, it has a different importance: keeping the party from abandoning the purpose for which it exists, which is ideological.

  211. Michael H. Wilson

    Robert this is why I have been suggesting we tackle the overseas military commitments of the U.S. There are a lot of points we can bring to the issue that are not being addressed, such as why U.S. workers are paying to help defend their foreign competition.

    We also, in my not so humble opinion, need to point out that in many cases markets are closed in America and we are for open markets. For eample midwives were outlawed and still remain under heavy regualtions in a number of states, thus dening mothers a choice. Housing regulations have driven low income workers out of the marketplace. Transportation regualtion make it almost immpossible to start a small transportation business in most cities, thus harming low income people, especially women. And I can go on and on.

  212. Robert Capozzi

    pc: …keeping the party from abandoning the purpose for which it exists, which is ideological.

    me: My purpose here is to check the premise. If the premise to hold high the NAP as the basis for all analysis, then I’m not interested in the LP, particularly if Rothbard’s application of the NAP is the ONLY purpose.

    That’s the nub of it. It seems clear to me that most Ls realize (often intuitively) that Rothbard’s absolutism is an ineffective strategy AND not an especially meaningful analytical tool. “Demanding” the full loaf is not politics, which is a negotiating function. It has rendered us in an Ivory Tower, sanctimonious place.

    I find the “minimize coercion, maximize liberty” approach to be a far more serviceable and actionable. Some anarchists like yourself can live with that approach; others can’t, those who seem to cling to Murray’s “hold high the banner” rallying cry.

    We shall see where this disagreement leads. Hopefully, we can keep it civil going forward.

  213. paulie Post author

    Hopefully, we can keep it civil going forward.

    Absolutely. I’m striving to be a civil libertarian. 🙂

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