Annoying Libertarians: A Primer

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
It's no secret I think Libertarians are emotionally retarded children.Their entire worldview is predicated on tenets so morally repugnant to me that really, sometimes I think my best course of action is to just hit them in the face with a shovel.

But they're also annoying little fuckers. And here's why.

Everyone needs a little help now and then.
 
Including, apparently, Libertarians. Not that they'd admit it, of course. The hypocrisy inherent in simultaneously decrying the evils of social safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, etc., etc. while also taking advantage of those self-same programs for your own benefit is simply stunning. ESPECIALLY as it relates to the Libertarian patron saint, the venerated Ayn Rand, who insisted on smoking like a chimney her entire life, then applied for Medicare and Social Security when she became ill with - surprise, surprise - lung cancer.

Government handouts? Who, me?
Evidently it's the height of EEEVIL to ask the government to regulate the availability of birth control to women who are paying for health insurance, but it's perfectly defensible to ask the government to out and out pay for your health care and living expenses when you become ill due to your own behavior. Clearly Libertarians feel only they are worthy of such assistance, while the rest of the country can die in a fire before they'll agree to contribute to the public good. Literally.

There's a part of me that believes that Libertarians who make such public, vociferous complaints about the public safety net should be cut loose from society to fend for themselves, no taxes, no benefits. Sort of a rubber stamped "going Galt" scenario. It's a bad idea, though, because you just know legions of Ayn Rand wannabes would come out of the woodwork and insist on taking part in the program without having to pay in. And we'd have to care for them, because that's what civilized societies do. Better to listen to them complain. I think.

Recognizing your privilege is a virtue.

This is probably the thing about Libertarians that annoys me the most. They have this constant, almost pathological need to conflate their unearned privilege with personal virtue.

If a Libertarian gets a job, becomes successful, makes a ton of money, has any kind of good fortune, they will claim that their success is entirely due to their own hard work and virtuous ways. The fact that they are white, and/or male, and/or grew up in a safe environment, and/or had the opportunity to get a good education, and/or enjoy good health, and/or have access to affordable healthcare, and/or won the genetic lottery in the form of brains, brawn, or both, these things have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. These aren't the 'droids you're looking for. Move along.

I'd be a Doctor even if I WASN'T an old white dude with a privileged upbringing. And a Congressman. I'd be a Congressman, too.
There's a reason that the Libertarian mindset is primarily found in young, wealthy males. Because people who don't have unearned privilege realize that having it doesn't make you a better person.

The free market is not a "force for good."

The free market is a system whereby companies or financial institutions attempt to sell goods or services at a profit, and where prices are determined by supply and demand. That's it. There's nothing inherently moral or virtuous about it, it's simply one system that allows societies to trade goods and services in a sometimes coherent way.


What do you mean I'm not the Great and Powerful Oz?
But to hear Libertarians tell it, the free market is the panacea that will solve all our ills, repair everything that's broken, and will self-regulate our society into a utopian paradise where evil-doers are punished by the all-knowing and all-powerful FREE MARKET. The only problem with that, of course, is that it's complete and utter bullshit, and to claim otherwise is more than a bit disingenuous, especially in light of our recent economic crises. Don't agree? Ask Alan Greenspan, acolyte of Ayn Rand, who failed to see what deregulation was doing to the financial sector until the barn was already burning.

The free market is a morally neutral construct, but people are murderous, unethical fucksticks who will let the nation burn to the ground if it means that their profits will increase quarter over quarter. That's why we need, you know, regulation. Just ask Brookesly Born.

Compassion is a good thing, you selfish motherfucker.

And finally, we have the incredibly annoying "Fuck you, I've got mine" mentality shared by so many Libertarians. I swear to Cthulu, some of these people act like they are personally responsible for every aspect of their life, with no contributions from society, their family, their government. To hear them tell it, they sprang fully formed from the forehead of their sire, already knowing how to read, write and do higher math, they've never used public roads, partaken in any government program, or lived in a society that enjoyed the rule of law due to the efforts and work of others.

Even if you're one of those crazy "Doomsday Preppers" and live off the grid, you're still taking advantage of technologies the government subsidizes and regulates. Who do you think funds research for renewable energy? Who do you think regulates and helps manage refinement of the fuel oil you use for your generator?

I developed and manufactured these myself!
How self-centered do you have to be to believe that you, and you alone, are completely responsible for your life's trajectory and success, and the same is true of other people, as well? If someone's sick, or poor, or received a poor education, or lost the genetic lottery by being just plain stupid, then shouldn't people of good conscience encourage a form of government that helps to lift people up rather than leaving them to drown in a sea of misery? I guess that's just crazy talk, because fuck you, I've got mine. 

Evidently none of these paragons have ever heard (or taken to heart) the idea that "There but for the grace of God go I." It's really not that hard, Libertarians. I'm a fucking Atheist, and even I get it.

Delusional. And annoying.

**************
Updated 3/31/2012 2:47 p.m. I've decided to turn off comments for this post due to an influx of Libertarian trolls from Reddit. I have other, more productive things to do than defending myself from the tedious accusations of people who actually think The Shovel of Doom™ is a real implement that I would actually use on other human beings rather than a rhetorical device. Things like admiring my new Vera Wang shoes! And scratching the Boogie Dog! And...well, really, anything.

50 comments:

Phiala said...

That.

Precisely.

Also, Somalia. (There's an amusing video about that, which I can track down if you haven't seen it.)

neurondoc said...

Yup. While I can understand how Libertarian views are seductive to certain people (usually the "haves" or the "I don't really care to haves"), overall it is not a self-sustaining society. I wouldn't want to live there, my love for "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" notwithstanding...

You are spot on with every one of your points.

However, "tenants" in the first paragraph should be "tenets". I don't think you're talking about landlords, renters, or lodgers. :-)

Eric said...

Well said!

One point I'd add:

They [libertarians] have this constant, almost pathological need to conflate their unearned privilege with personal virtue.

But they generally won't accept the corollary: that if their privileges are the result of virtue, their losses must surely be the result of their vices. But, no: if a libertarian gets a promotion, it's because he's a hard worker, not because he's got a leg up for being well-connected; however, if he doesn't get the promotion, well, it had nothing to do with him being a selfish dick who doesn't work well with others and everything to do with government-imposed quotas and the unfair pressure upon his bosses to be politically correct because they're afraid of being sued or boycotted by special-interest groups.

The conflating of unearned privilege with virtue would still be annoying if libertarians were logically consistent about it, but at least it would be mitigated (a little) by their willingness to acknowledge maybe they lost out on something because they just weren't good enough and not because socialists are conspiring to Bergeronize civilization.

Janiece said...

Phiala, I've seen it. And LAUGHED AND LAUGHED.

Thanks, Neurondoc. I've made the correction.

Eric, amazingly, you've perfectly described one of my ex-husbands.

Tom said...

Can I be your towel boy. You know, to hold the towel which cleans the brains off the shovel? Cause your shovel-wacking is to dent some heads, not to strew left-over brain-pieces hither and yon after they start building up on the shovel. The shovel-cleaner towel-boy. Cause I want to help out, but you've already got the shovel, so obviously we don't need another shovel-wacker. Towel-boy, yes! If you'll have me, that is.

Randy said...

Particularly on the point of the merits of the free market, cf. my blog post of five-some years ago, On Means and Ends: A Confusion. (I've barely touched my blogs in three or four years.) Warning: May contain some rather lame examples/analogies, but I have had trouble coming up with coherent ones.

Janiece said...

Welcome, Randy.

DAstronomer said...

This is my first post here, despite the fact that I've been subscribing to your blog for over a year. I am a Colorado boy in grad school for astronomy in Florida. I love reading your blog. (/gush)

I'd have had some serious lulz on your Primer if it weren't so sadly accurate. See, I (a tax-and-spend democratic socialist liberal) am marrying a Randian and know first hand the induced brain-spattering hopelessness that comes when 'debating' a libertard. Don't get me wrong, my fiance is a compassionate and fiercely intelligent feminist and my best friend, which makes the Randian bit somewhat odd.

In all fairness, my fiance and I have had many discussions, and I have earned some concessions from her, especially on the subject(s) of unearned privilege. She has moderated her stance in favor of more liberal views (at least around me...hmm). Also, she's learned more history, which I think argues for a need of strong government. The best argument against libertarianism is still, in my mind, Colorado Springs (what happened to the street lights? and what's with all this trash?).

Eric, your comment is an awesome statement on hypocrisy that I can't wait to point out to the libertards in my life.

Anywhoo, I thought I'd stop in, say hello and awkwardly thank you for your blog. So thanks. Oh, and hai. :-)

Janiece said...

Welcome, DAstronomer. It's always nice when someone de-lurks and says hello. That way I know I'm not just shouting into the ether...or worse, an echo chamber.

Thanks for coming out of the woodwork!

kabloowy said...

DAstronomer-

Speaking of checking privilage, I hope that you don't mean "libertarded" as the blend of "libertarian" and "retarded" it seems like you do.

Because it really seems like you mean it as an insult, and useing a term for people with mental challenges as an insult is very rude of you.

And by "rude" I am mean "acting in a very ablist manner."

kabloowy said...

Excuse me,

I mean*

Night Ripper said...

Your argument is completely full of fail and unexamined idiotic assumptions.

1. Everyone needs help sometimes. Civilized people ask for help. They don't demand it at gunpoint. My parents raised me and made me what I am more than anyone else. Yet, if they were to demand part of my salary in return for it, I'd be so disgusted that I'd probably never call them again. You help people because you care, not because they did something for you that one time or because you think they'll help you out later. There's also a difference between thinking charity is a good idea (I give to charity as much as I can) and thinking it should be government mandated. Charity is part of the free market.

2. Society is a bullshit term. You're trying to make a consensus where there is none. It's just a majority forcing their will on the minority but the minority is just as much part of society. Don't pretend that society is of one mind and homogenous.

3. Who cares what some old lady did on her deathbed? You're like those religious people that say Darwin converted on his deathbed. Even if he did, who cares? Humans aren't perfect and one person changing their mind or making a mistake doesn't mean everyone else is wrong. Libertarians are individuals with many disagreements between us. Thinking that we are all opposed to charity is just plain being naive.

4. I'm glad you're an atheist. Me too. You've seen through the bullshit control structure of organized religion. You've seen its non-supernatural origins. Maybe you should reexamine your other beliefs too instead of spouting "HERP DERP! LOLBERTARIANS R MEAN!"

Janiece said...

Night Ripper, my semi-humorous piece was, in fact, a stereotype to a certain degre. I'll give you that.

But that's the only thing I'll give you.

If you've ever read anything more challenging than "Atlas Shrugged," you'd know that "society"in this context is NOT a bullshit term, but a construct used by philosophers to denote the beneficiaries of the Common Good (probably another term lacking in your education).

My fundamental issue with Libertarians is that they advocate an immoral society. I don't want to live in an immoral society, so I don't want Libertarians to dictate the progress of our society.

So I don't think Libertarians are "mean." I think you're emotionally retarded assholes.

Janiece said...

Oh, and spare me your condescending approval of my Atheism. I'm not a nonbeliever for your benefit, and you embarrass me with your association.

Night Ripper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
macsnafu said...

Typical misunderstandings about libertarianism. "Semi-humorous" means you're only partially kidding about believing these strawmen.

I'll admit that when one discovers libertarianism, it's quite frustrating to see that other people don't get it. But I guess it's the same reason I don't understand why people are so willing to believe the misconceptions of libertarianism.

What exactly is evil or immoral about not advocating the initiation of force?? People who are against that are the people who are truly evil, the ones who *want* to initiate force against others or, as I mentioned above, are buying into the misconceptions.

Rand was far from perfect (who is??) and went out of her way to irritate people and create controversy, but that was Rand, not libertarianism. I can't believe the fundamentals of libertarianism are so controversial.

I won't address the individual points of your post unless I need to. After all, I don't want to be another annoying libertarian.

But maybe you can find some real problems to worry about?

ActivelyDisengaged said...

Let's assume I agree with all the admittedly humorous points made in the post.

At what point does that give the author, their representatives, or "society" the right to put a gun to my head and remove half the contents of my wallet under threat of violence? At what point am I obligated obey the will of the 'majority' or 'society', again under threat of violence?

At what point did I become a slave?
Yes, partial slavery is still slavery. Mutual slavery is also still slavery. Was I born a slave by virtue of being born into this 'society'? Does that make it moral to initiate violence against me if I have different ideas about what to do with my life (and its products)?

Oh, I suppose you'll say that I owe some debt because 'society' provided me with an education, safety, food, etc. I disagree, but let's say that I don't. This means I have some sort of moral debt to repay society for my existence... but this does NOT translate into an actual financial obligation or an oath of fealty to the government! Explain how "thanks for giving birth to me" becomes "yes, take half my earnings and shoot me if I disobey".

Janiece said...

*TONG*

Night Ripper, if you had a salient point to make, you've lost the privilege of making it here. You don't get to come to my on-line home and call me a "cunt," anymore than I would tolerate such behavior here at the Big Yellow House.

But thanks for making my point about Libertarians being assholes. Or, in your case, misogynistic assholes.

macsnafu, I do believe these stereotypes contain some truth about your movement. I never stated otherwise, and I deny that they're strawmen. Are you honestly trying to tell me that these traits (which I do indeed think apply to the Libertarian movement) do not apply? Really?

And I love the slippery slope argument of both you and ActivelyDisengaged whereby you assert that the government's going to shoot you if you don't pay your taxes. Because that HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

As for the government insisting that all members contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of essential services, the only thing I can say to that is grow the fuck up. As a species we must have societal norms and rules to ensure our mutual survival. You want to live off the grid and find your own way without anyone being the boss of you? Fine. Move to the Alaskan interior and do so. Or Somalia. I here it's nice there in the Spring.

macsnafu said...

Yes, it's all about easy answers, isn't it? I didn't want to respond to the individual points because it would take too long. But maybe I can come up with a few concise points.

I never asserted that government's going to shoot you if you don't pay your taxes. But they will fine you, take your property, and imprison you. In reality, coercion works for getting your way. That's life. I'm mature enough to recognize that, thank you very much. But the point libertarians are trying to make is that coercion doesn't, in fact, create a better, happier, more progressive society. You want to help the poor? Minimum wage laws won't do it. That's not even libertarianism, but plain, old dismal economics. But many people happily push minimum wage laws and increases regardless of the unintended consequences. Why? Because it's easier than understanding economics and unintended consequences.

There's nothing wrong with compassion and charity, I agree. But compassion is when you give of your own money and time to help others, not when you forcibly take someone else's money and give it away. Private charity is great. Government welfare is not compassionate, and suffers the same problems other government programs do, with the unintended results of coercion and the lack of proper economic incentives to efficiently direct resources, and the results are not pretty, no matter how good liberals may feel about these programs. But fully understanding this complexity means recognizing there are no easy answers to our problems.

Government regulations of businesses tend to favor big business and corporate influences, thus reducing competition, crowding out the small businesses, and decreasing the opportunities for the poor to do better. This is what hurts society, not helps it.

You implied that deregulation caused the financial crisis. Again, the reality is much more complex. The short answer is rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand. Government privileges, which is what the alleged "de-regulation" really was, are no more beneficial for society than government restrictions. The long answer is way too long to put in this reply.

If people really want to be smart, they have to recognize that there are no easy answers, no shortcuts, to a better society. Government coercion and regulation is not an answer to society's problems, but another layer of problems and unintended consequences. The reality is that we're not doing away with a coercive society any time soon, but that shouldn't stop us from recognizing the problems of coercion and stop trying to compound our problems, to stop urging politicians to make things worse.

All the best intentions in the world are not enough if you try to use the wrong means to achieve desirable goals. They just won't work.

adlibertad said...

I'm just going to leave this here: http://i.imgur.com/InZ96.jpg

Daniel Jones said...

I think, if the government is taking a portion of your paycheck (property) determined by them and your will and by use of force, that you have every right and obligation to take as much back as you can. There's nothing hypocritical about that, the point is that we're against the government, or any collective body, using force to take property or determine a specific way of life for everyone else against their will, regardless of whatever 'common good' the collective body perceives that their use of force will bring. No one has the right use force to take another's property.

There's literally no difference between a democracy, a 'majority' dictating the actions and rights of everyone else, and a dictatorship, one man dictating the actions and rights of everyone else. In both scenarios the outcome is the same, people are being dictated, that is not freedom.

And you're view of society is extremely selfish, society is a collection of individuals making personal choices of their own free will, society is not what you personally, and/or your majority, intend it to be through the use of a voting booth (force).

Night Ripper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Janiece said...

*TONG*

Night Ripper, I don't recall asking you your opinion of my "one strike and you're out" rule regarding the misogynistic insult "cunt." I don't recall it because I really don't give a shit what you think about it. I don't care about swearing, I don't care that you don't agree with me - I do care that you not sully my online home with your sexism. My space, my rules, and you're no longer welcome here. Future posts will be deleted without comment from me.

macsnafu, thank you for your thoughtful response. I was not trying to oversimplify the issues, as my piece as written was simply a list of the common characteristics I've personally noticed in Libertarians, and how I find them annoying.

But here's the thing: I simply don't agree with you or Daniel Jones. I think you're wrong. In my view, mature and moral individuals voluntarily give up a certain amount of their own personal autonomy in favor of a mutually agreed upon government construct that works for the common good. It's part of the civilizing process, and it's the price we pay for living in a civilized society. Just as forfeiting the right to commit violence (in the context you alluded to) is ceded solely to the government in an effort to reduce violence as a whole. In my view, to do otherwise is childish in a "you're not the boss of me" kind of way, as it fails to make provisions for the least among us, nor does it address how to deal with reprobates.

That does not mean I don't think there's room for debate surrounding how much a government can take in taxes, how that money is spent, and what social safety programs are worthwhile and defensible and which are not. As a progressive, I tend towards a "tax and spend" construct, because that coincides with my values. Obviously a conservative would feel differently, and the business of governance is trying to meet in the middle so a solution that everyone can live with.

And that's the rub - a solution that everyone can live with. Based on the comments here and elsewhere, it appears that Libertarians don't want to meet in the middle - instead they want to have things only their own way (again, "you're not the boss of me"), and democracy, republicanism, etc. be damned. It's my opinion that such a political construct is unsustainable - obviously you don't agree.

There are many types of government that lean more or less towards the socialism that Libertarians find so abhorrent, from the welfare states of Scandinavia to the aforementioned anarchy of Somalia. And as Americans, we all have the right to try and change the government of our Republic to more closely align to our values and beliefs. I'm not implying that you don't have that right. But I am implying that the government you say you want wouldn't work, nor would it serve anyone but the (already) rich and powerful.

EirĂ­kur said...

The writer of this article would do well to familiarize herself with the ad hominem fallacy. Even assuming libertarians are straight up hypocrites when it comes to public services (yeah what a concept, people using the services they're forced to pay for, not to mention the state barriers for private alternatives) that would do nothing to dispute the merit of their arguments.
Never mind the overt strawmen presented in this article.
Ayn Rand was one of many libertarian thinkers, she's not the end all of libertarian thinkers and her hypocrisy has no bearing on the validity of her arguments or libertarianism in general.
And libertarians don't content that a free market is utopia, merely that it's better than the corrupt state capitalism that exist today.

Unknown said...

Right, there are a lot of Libertarian asshats.

But you know what? there are a lot of asshats of every political orientation.

As a Libertarian, I freely acknowledge that my life is a lot better than it could be because of the help of others. But you know what, that's cool, because like most people, I LIKE, helping others too, when I'm able.

I think you'll find that most of us are just ordinary folk, and GASP, most of us are actually POOR, too (though I wouldn't claim we're any more virtuous on that account.)

Strong personal and professional relationships based on GIVE and take are essential to any properly conceived notion of self-interest.

What I don't enjoy, is being manipulated and taken advantage of by others, and I have no problem leaving that sort out in the cold.

I think you're making the classic leftist mistake of conflating society with government. They are not one and the same. Social safety net? Sure. But it does not follow that some group of people should therefore be empowered to lord over us and appropriate some portion of our produce for their own ends in the vain hope that they'll somehow be motivated to use it only for good.

Does government do some good? Sure, but they also do a lot of harm. And the question remains of whether or not the good government does cannot be done better any other way. To me it's clear that it can. Even if government could be improved, you can't completely separate the good from the bad, war, corruption, bureaucratic incompetence, waste and inefficiency are just part of the government parcel. We could get a lot more bang for our buck by cutting them out of the loop and doing for ourselves and for each other, that which needs to be done.

Janiece said...

Unknown, you've finally hit on a point we can all agree on: There are assholes everywhere.

I do have a question, though: What does this non-governmental solution actually look like? What remedy would be in place to address the failures of such a system? For example, when charities don't have enough money to feed the poor and infirm, do we simply let them starve to death? If people can't afford health care (or opt out if it's permitted), when they get sick do we simply leave them in the street to die? What mechanisms does the Libertarian ideal propose to deal with shortfalls and still maintain a morally defensible outcome?

austro-libertarian said...

Part 1 of 2

"It's no secret I think Libertarians are emotionally retarded children"

Ad hominem.

"The hypocrisy inherent in simultaneously decrying the evils of social safety nets such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, etc., etc. while also taking advantage of those self-same programs for your own benefit is simply stunning."

Approx. 40% of peoples paychecks (their rightfully appropriated property, see John Lock on the Homestead Principle and Hans-Hermann Hoppe on the same) are forcefully confiscated without their permission. The argument of the arbitrary social contract (if it exists, I have never seen it, nor have I signed it) It is not legitimate, therefore unenforceable and immoral. As mentioned above by other posters, there is no contradiction in utilizing funds that were essentially stolen from an individual.

Ayn Rand was an Objectivist. She was not a libertarian ("libertarians are my avowed enemies" --Ayn Rand June 20, 1974). Although Objectivism shares philosophical similarities to libertarianism, they are in fact not the same. Conflating them is a mistake on your part.

"If a Libertarian gets a job, becomes successful, makes a ton of money, has any kind of good fortune, they will claim that their success is entirely due to their own hard work and virtuous ways."

Assertion.

Source?
Collectivizing dynamic, varied individuals does not help your argument.

"The fact that they are white, and/or male, and/or grew up in a safe environment, and/or had the opportunity to get a good education, and/or enjoy good health, and/or have access to affordable healthcare, and/or won the genetic lottery in the form of brains, brawn, or both, these things have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT."

Argument from false premise.
Do you have proof that all libertarians come from this background?
I am not white and I grew up in Trenton, NJ. The crime rate across the board is at the least twice the national average of the U.S.
You do not speak for me.

"But to hear Libertarians tell it, the free market is the panacea that will solve all our ills, repair everything that's broken, and will self-regulate our society into a utopian paradise where evil-doers are punished by the all-knowing and all-powerful FREE MARKET."

Which libertarians? All libertarians?
Please cite specific sources if you're going to claim specific charges.
I suggest reading Murray Rothbards "Man, Economy and State"
and Ludwig von Mises "Human Action"

austro-libertarian said...

Part 2 of 2

"The only problem with that, of course, is that it's complete and utter bullshit, and to claim otherwise is more than a bit disingenuous, especially in light of our recent economic crises."

There is no free market.
The Federal Reserve Act grants monopoly privilege to the Fed to print money and control interest rates. The Federal Reserve Chairman is appointed by the President.
Ben Bernanke was appointed by Bush Jr. and re-appointed by Barack Obama.
Alan Greenspan is not a libertarian. A monetarist? yes. Liberian? no.

"The free market is a morally neutral construct, but people are murderous, unethical fucksticks who will let the nation burn to the ground if it means that their profits will increase quarter over quarter"

Pick up an economics book. I recommend Joseph T. Salerno, Murray N. Rothbard, Henry Hazlitt, Huerta de Soto, Frederic Bastiat, Joseph Schumpeter, Anne Robert Jaques Turgot, Ludwig von Mises.
It is painfully obvious you have little grasp on economic theory, especially Praxeology.

"And finally, we have the incredibly annoying "Fuck you, I've got mine" mentality shared by so many Libertarians. I swear to Cthulu, some of these people act like they are personally responsible for every aspect of their life, with no contributions from society, their family, their government. To hear them tell it, they sprang fully formed from the forehead of their sire, already knowing how to read, write and do higher math, they've never used public roads, partaken in any government program, or lived in a society that enjoyed the rule of law due to the efforts and work of others."

Again, this is a baseless assertion. Please cite sources to substantiate this claim.

Define the "rule of law" and where it comes from.
What is the purpose of law?
Is it not to uphold justice?
Are you a legal positivist in the sense that laws and rights can be given and taken away?

"Even if you're one of those crazy "Doomsday Preppers" and live off the grid, you're still taking advantage of technologies the government subsidizes and regulates. Who do you think funds research for renewable energy? Who do you think regulates and helps manage refinement of the fuel oil you use for your generator?"

Every single variant of energy is heavily government subsidized. This action distorts the market and artificially raises price signals making it grossly expensive and inefficient. It also pushes emerging energy sources from what would likely be a competitive market where people could choose solar over oil or hydroelectric or tidal power or wind power etc...
Who are you blaming?

"How self-centered do you have to be to believe that you, and you alone, are completely responsible for your life's trajectory and success, and the same is true of other people, as well?"

I take it you're not familiar with Hayeks "Spontaneous Order or the division of labor?

Read Leonard E. Read's "I, Pencil"

"If someone's sick, or poor, or received a poor education, or lost the genetic lottery by being just plain stupid, then shouldn't people of good conscience encourage a form of government that helps to lift people up rather than leaving them to drown in a sea of misery?"

Never heard of private charity?
There are a lot of private people that contribute great amounts to charity. It is rarely covered because it is not good for ratings, but it does happen. The flaw in your position is that if the government doesn't do it, no one will and that simply is not true.
If anything, the government acts as a barrier for people that want to help. Recently in NYC mayor Bloomberg made it illegal for food banks to feed the homeless because they can't regulate fat or salt content.
Your entire position is from a false premise. Do some real research.

austro-libertarian said...

"Ben Bernanke was appointed by Bush Jr. and re-appointed by Barack Obama.
Alan Greenspan is not a libertarian. A monetarist? yes. Liberian? no."

*Libertarian.
pardon the typo

Janiece said...

austro-libertarian, perhaps you should go back and read the piece you so carefully copied and pasted into my comments.

I made it very, very clear in my post that I was listing personal characteristics of Libertarians of my acquaintance that annoyed me. As such, it can only be described as an opinion piece, especially my condemnation of the hypocrisy of Ayn Rand. Of course it's an ad hominem attack - did you even read the title? I find these people fucking annoying. That's my opinion, as clearly stated throughout, based on my personal exposure to self-identified Libertarians and how they describe their beliefs.

But rest assured that when I'm ready to actually write an analysis of the Libertarian position on everything from monetary policy to the role of private charities, I'll be sure to take your very informative advice and recommendations and "do some actual research."

No wonder everyone finds Libertarians so tedious.*

*Yes, yes, another ad hominem attack. Whatever.

macsnafu said...

That's just it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that is forced on everyone. There are many different solutions, dependent upon the particular circumstances that individuals find themselves in.

First of all, if we're not paying the taxes for government welfare programs, then everybody is keeping more of their income to spend as they see fit. Even in today's status quo, Americans have proven very generous to charities, and if we have more money in our pockets, it's reasonable to assume that even more would go to charities.

Family and friends of course are usually willing to help out, and with less taxes, they are more able to help out.

Churches and other religious organizations have always been part of helping the poor and infirm. I may be an atheist, but they can at least be helpful to society in some ways.

Another important issue that affects poverty is government regulation and licensing. With less of this regulation and licensing, it will be easier for people to start up new businesses, which means more job opportunities for people and less unemployment. Especially without minimum wage laws, labor markets can clear more easily. Many people think that if we had a true free market, without government intervention, there would be no involuntary unemployment--everyone who wanted a job would have one. Even many people with physical or mental disabilities can do some kind of productive work--perhaps not enough to be self-sufficient, but enough to help defray the costs of charitable support. Tariffs in imports protects inefficient industries, but at the cost of higher prices for consumers. Without protective tariffs, there might be fewer jobs in particular industries, but more people and money would be free to create more jobs in other industries.

So, if people have more money to spend, and fewer people are unemployed, there should be fewer people that actually need charity.

There are other things that impact poverty and charity, but the connection is more obscure, less obvious. But the main point is that if government coercion has unintended consequences, undoing or stopping that coercion will also undo or change those unintended consequences. It was Frederic Bastiat who wrote "That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen" back in 1850. In essence, we live in a holistic society, where actions good or bad can have far-reaching consequences in non-obvious ways.

So again, there is no one, simple answer. But greater freedom gives everyone more ways and more opportunities to act and deal with their own situations and problems, as well as how they can deal with or help others. Government coercion and restrictions tend to limit our options and freedom, not increase them, thus making it harder to deal with our problems.

austro-libertarian said...

So, you're not going to attempt to respond to the substance of my post?

Stick to your ad hominem if you must.
It really backs the credibility of your blog post.

Janiece said...

macsnafu, I still don't agree with you, as I tend to err on the side of more intervention. I believe the consequences of failure in a laissez-faire approach to the common good are too great.

But I'd like to thank you for your participation in the discussion - you've made some good points, given me some things to think about, and remained courteous and respectful throughout.

Janiece said...

austro-libertarian, what credibility? My thesis was, "These people are fucking annoying." Nothing in your response refutes that idea, and in fact, your arguments supports it.

The fact of the matter is that I have other things to do today besides responding to your so-called "substance." I may get around to it, I may not. But I don't see that I have an obligation to you either way. See how Libertarian that is?

austro-libertarian said...

"My thesis was, "These people are fucking annoying."
you also said
"I made it very, very clear in my post that I was listing personal characteristics of Libertarians of my acquaintance that annoyed me."

You didn't.
You said,
"It's no secret I think Libertarians are emotionally retarded children"

Nowhere did you mention or allude to specific people you actually know or deal with. You spoke (typed) in very general terms.

Red herring.

Stephen A. Douglas said...

Government and economics are not the only questions which comes up in this controversy. There is a far more important one to you libertarians, and that is, what shall be done with the free poor person?

Are the poor supposed to just die in the streets?

Libertadians will never understand that GOVERNMENT IS SOCIETY. NO GOVERNMENT, NO SOCIETY. Government has been in every society. I cannot imagine one without it.

99% of people cannot take care of themselves. They are incompetent like children. Liberty is childish. People need a parent state to take care of them, or everyone (except the rich) would die in the streets from starvation.

Whether the libertardians like it or not, they need a "parent" to take care of them. Even though they might think the government is cruel for taking away there money, they will be thankful when they aren't dying from starvation later.

Do you agree?

logfromblammo said...

There are more types of libertarian than you seem to realize. Just as atheists hold nothing more in common than a lack of belief in the unseen, the only thing libertarians necessarily have in common is a dislike for being ruled. You have barely brushed the surface of the louder and more annoying genera of libertarian.

People make the world go round, regardless of the corporate masks and government chains of office that they use as props sometimes. You sound as though you have fallen into the post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) fallacy of saying that those good things we have now that were developed in the presence of government owe some part of their existence due to that presence.

The truth of it is that all the great things ever made have been created by people. Those people did not innovate because they were ordered to do so, so presumably could have done the same things with or without a government looking over their shoulders. But we can never know for certain, since we cannot create and observe experimental variations on history.

Nobody on either end can prove a rassafrassin' thing about how much better or worse the world would be under any of the many libertarian variations. But the one history we have is replete with rich and/or privileged sociopaths lording it over the rest of humanity for their own gain. In every instance that I can recall where the common folk were able to retain a larger portion of their own efforts, this has resulted in a short period of rapid advancement, followed by a slow slide back to elite-run stagnation.

Libertarianism is probably just the early disorganized stages of another iteration of the commoner rebellion, brought forth by people too ethical (or cowardly) to actually drag people out into the street and murder them. We're too mad to go along with the political status quo, but too polite to clog the storm sewers with blue blood.

If it comes to hitting people with shovels, I think I'd rather skip that part and go straight to the large caliber rifles. On the one side will be the people who know full well that they will be individually responsible for the permanent loss of another human, and on the other will be the people who have rationalized their responsibility away via command structures re-engineered by way of the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment for more efficient killing. And then there will be the people trying to stay out of the way until its safe to have a rational and ethical civilization again.

Is it really so much different in the US and Europe as opposed to Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria? Can I assume that since you disparage the people who oppose government with words in the one case, that you oppose the aspirations of the rebels who use rifles in the other?

noneedtoaggress said...
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noneedtoaggress said...
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Randall W. Goble said...

Janiece,

Usually I enjoy articles and cartoons that mock libertarianism. I'm a libertarian, but I just kind of like that stuff. But only when it's funny. This wasn't very funny.

For one, it made you come off like an asshole yourself. That was a bit hard to get past. While representations of libertarian assholes can be hilarious--for example, Ron Swanson--your post was so high upon the horse of self-righteousness that instead of attacking the ideas in a funny way or maybe writing about particular people, you decided to attack a collective. Libertarians are not a collective. We do laugh at each other. There are some fucking funny libertarians out there. Go to Porc-fest next year and immerse yourself in it. Write about the horror of the experience. That's something anyone, libertarian or not, can get behind and laugh about. We have coasttocoastamites in our midst. We have new-agers in our midst. We have David Ickeans in our midst. We know about this. Why don't you?

But the problem is that you probably didn't go there because it might make you seem even more unfair. Like your cherry picking the bad apples or the freaks and then trying to paint us all with that brush. But you did that anyway. It's the danger you run when you make fun of large groups of people. If you're going to do that, you better know what you're talking about, otherwise nary a smile is cracked by the reader. Your goal with something like this, in my opinion, should be to make even a libertarian laugh at himself or at his peers (mostly his peers. I never laugh at myself, personally, because ever since the DNAA was passed I haven't smiled. Not once.)

Or write particularly about your ex-husband. Write what you know. You obviously don't know libertarianism. It'd be like me writing about those asshole botanists. PEOPLE ARE DYING OF CANCER AND THEY'RE JUST FUCKING PICKING FLOWERS AND SHIT. Not that funny. I know jack shit about botany.

You seem funny. There were a couple of lines that were funny if I took your premises and just let reason fly out of the window. But I can't do it, because what you were attempting wasn't a comedy piece. It was a hit-piece. What you wrote was hopelessly cliche from a libertarian's perspective. Jesus Christ. ROADS! YOU DRIVE ON THE FUCKING ROADS! Come on, Janiece. You seem funnier than that.

Some of us libertarians have pretty thick skin. Some of us debate with passion and enthusiasm, but genuinely wish to be understood. Some of us are extremely compassionate. Some of us have mastered the Reptilian art of levitation and use this when navigating so that we never step foot on government roads. Some of us write libertarian anthems in the musical styling of "I Will Survive." Some of us call people "cunts" when they make fun of us. But most importantly, some of us can fucking levitate.

Good day, Madam.

noneedtoaggress said...

Boy, do I wish I could smash George's head in with a shovel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGMQZEIXBMs

He should be more compassionate like me! I'm gonna hit him with a shovel until he is.

austro-libertarian said...

Stephen A. Douglas,

"Government and economics are not the only questions which comes up in this controversy. There is a far more important one to you libertarians, and that is, what shall be done with the free poor person?

Are the poor supposed to just die in the streets?"

Economics addresses your query.
More specifically:
http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_2/21_2_1.pdf

"GOVERNMENT IS SOCIETY. NO GOVERNMENT, NO SOCIETY."

I'm not sure how you're defining "government" and "society"
Both government AND society are made of individuals.

I feel as though, and i'm guessing on how you're using said terms, that this is a non-sequitur.

"I cannot imagine one without it"

You don't have to. Read Robert Murphy's "Chaos Theory"
Hans-Hermann Hoppe's "The Economics and Ethics of Private Property"
and Murray Rothbards "Man, Economy and State", "For a New Liberty" and "The Economics of Liberty" (all available for free in .PDF format).

"99% of people cannot take care of themselves. They are incompetent like children."

Assertion. It is also quite a statement of how you view 99% of people.

"Liberty is childish"

Is that the case?
Try reading Karl Popper, David Gordon, Ludwig von Mises, Voltaire, Frederick Douglass, Lysander Spooner, Benjamin Tucker et al.

No. I don't agree.

Read "Human Action"
http://mises.org/Books/humanaction.pdf

and "Man, Economy and State"
http://home.aubg.bg/faculty/kpetrov/Other/Textbook%20Downloads/Rothbard%20-%20Man%20Economy%20State.pdf
refute them in a convincing manner and maybe i'll change my mind. Maybe.

noneedtoaggress said...
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The Whited Sepulchre said...

What does giving money to a Den Of Thieves in Washington have to do with compassion?

Do you understand that there is a difference between (no govt) anarchists and (limited govt) libertarians?

Do you believe that our military spending (46% of the world's total) might be too much?

Godallmighty, what a poorly-informed post.

noneedtoaggress said...
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The Whited Sepulchre said...

One last comment r.e. Somalia....I'm not an anarchist, I'm a libertarian.
But Somalia is actually doing better with no govt to speak of than they were with the pack of Jackals that were in place earlier.

Tara said...

I'm deeply sorry that you wish to bash me in the head with a shovel when I've done nothing to you. Given that I'm already in a minority group which is frequently the target of violence, it's somewhat alarming to discover that my political opinions put me in another.

But since your call for violence sounds a lot to me like the mindset of an emotionally retarded child, I'm going to hold you blameless and just hope that you soon get the help that you clearly need.

Night Ripper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
noneedtoaggress said...

"Libertadians will never understand that GOVERNMENT IS SOCIETY. NO GOVERNMENT, NO SOCIETY. Government has been in every society. I cannot imagine one without it."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H2rSJayL_c

The state =/= society. The word "government" is often used as a synonym for the state.

Society is just humans voluntarily interacting with each other. If humans were inherently more violent than cooperative then we couldn't even have a society the size of a family, much less a government. And even in some utopian post-scarcity, garden of eden dreamworld fantasy, people would have to peacefully interact for a society to exist.

The state is simply just a centralized power structure that everyone clamors to use so that they can control each other. They both simply want to use the force of the state to achieve their goals, and in doing so cause massive distortions which result in economic disparity and injustice. The state is not society, it's merely a violent, coercive institution which monopolizes on some of the most fundamental services that are necessary for society to function.

Janiece said...

I stopped reading about 10 comments ago.

As I noted earlier, I have other things to do this weekend rather than defending myself from a bunch of fly-by, wannabe intellectuals. So I'll be turning off the comments.

One note, however, on the "Shovel of Doom™" and my repeated rhetorical use of that implement. The Shovel of Doom™ is a running joke here at Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men. Which you all would know if you were actually interested in joining a conversation rather thank trolling.