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Daily Kos: Why libertarianism will never ever ever work, nuh uh

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Malachi posted on Sun, Nov 4 2012 12:14 PM
The only problem for libertarians is that they cannot point to even a single current or historical example of a government that functions as they imagine it should. They have no concrete, real world examples, so they ply their arguments in a theoretical construct.
thats the only problem? Well that should be easily rebuttable. Henry ford could never point to a single production line that functioned as it should have either, until he built one. Wilbur and Orville wright could not even point to one single airplane tha functioned as it should, until they built on. Even the statists cant point to a government that functions as it should, unless they are far enough away from it, or misinformed enough to whitewash all the atrocities. What do politicians running for office say? "This govt isnt functioning as it should, you need to put me in charge of part of it." so if that is the libertarian's only problem I would say they are in good shape so far.

I was going to write more but steve jobs refuses to acknowledge my attempts to copy and paste.

Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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Kos misses the point - government shouldn't be functioning much at all in a libertarian society.

I'm sure he/she/it (whatever "Kos" is) thinks of "government" as the Nation-State, which is completely antithetical to libertarianism.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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Libertarians fail to realize that there has never been--and never will be--a government that functions according to their principles because it runs entirely contrary to human nature.

As any libertarian understands when it comes to statist authoritarians, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. When you decentralize and remove the modern welfare state, leaving only essentially a glorified police force in charge to protect private property and personal safety

The author in the second para is describing right-wing minarchism, which is not libertarianism per se. The author puzzlingly characterizes libertarians as clueless, anti-authoritarian Utopians. These kinds of articles are a waste of mental bandwidth as the author has not even bothered to consider the possibility that he/she is not the well of wisdom and that a sizable number of very bright people may have already thought of his or her objections and written responses to them. Spooner, Molinari, Nock, Rothbard, Nozick - just to name a few - have all tackled these very objections.

I guess that what is missing from most popular discussions of libertarianism is a justification for the assumption that there must be a territorial monopoly on security and law. There are historical counter-examples to this. And even if there weren't, as has been noted by Malachi, that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about "human nature"... it could just be telling us something about human progress, and its potential.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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I think the point of such articles isn't so much (if at all) to refute libertarianism as to engender certain associations with the word "libertarianism".

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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By the way, I relish the thought of liberals mentioning Afghanistan and Somalia - really, the Western characterization of Somali and Afghani culture is a kind of "soft racism"... those silly brown and black people think you can have a society with no rules! How dumb!

When you scratch even slightly below the surface, you find that both countries have rich legal and cultural traditions from which Westerners - in our smug, infinite wisdom - could learn a thing or two. Somali Xeer, for example, has proved to be remarkably durable. The Somalis have been split three ways - British colonization in the North, Italian colonization in the South, and Ethiopian and Kenyan aggression in the West. Nevertheless, Somalis have maintained their Xeer legal system despite all odds. Under colonial rule, Xeer was itself prohibited (under Italian rule but it was none-too-favored by the British, either) but the British and Italian courts dispensed rough and arbitrary justice and cared little about settling the disputes of locals. So, they turned to Xeer anyway. Somalis regularly do business across the Somalia-Ethiopia border despite the risks and dangers created by the Ethiopian government... all because they have a durable and wise legal system that allows them to conquer such immense odds.

Afghan Pushtanwali is no less admirable and shares a few structural features in common with Xeer - it is tribal law and the rights of the individual are inviolable within the legal context. Both Pashtun law and Xeer have very strong property rights protections, much stronger in effect than property rights in the modern West. No king or warlord can rightfully seize anyone's property, not for taxes, not for tolls, not for anything.

It is true that, in both countries, you have to pay for your own security detail if you're traveling through the wilderness. But so what? Why should other people have to pay for your security, anyway? Since when is the ability to wander about the wilderness without fear of molestation by roving bands of marauders the litmus test of civilization? And the protection in so-called developed nations is exaggerated - it turns out that wandering around in the wilderness is dangerous no matter where you live.

The characterization of Somalis and Afghanis as "libertarian" is laughable on every count. While their legal systems do acknowledge the inviolable rights of the individual, this is no Utopianism, it's simple acknowledgement of fact. But you'd rather be dead than be cast out of the Somali legal system in Somalia. There is no fate worse than ostracism as you become fair game for those very roving bands of marauders. In other words, your inviolable rights as an individual include your inviolable right to "go it alone" if you're not going to respect the legal rights and duties you have under Xeer law. Once you are an outlaw, in all probability you will be killed, or worse, by Somali marauders.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/29/1049619/-Why-Libertarianism-Doesn-t-Work

heres the url.

Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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Kos misses the point - government shouldn't be functioning much at all in a libertarian society.

I'm sure he/she/it (whatever "Kos" is) thinks of "government" as the Nation-State, which is completely antithetical to libertarianism.

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup. -H.L. Mencken
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Libertarians fail to realize that there has never been--and never will be--a government that functions according to their principles because it runs entirely contrary to human nature.

As any libertarian understands when it comes to statist authoritarians, power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. When you decentralize and remove the modern welfare state, leaving only essentially a glorified police force in charge to protect private property and personal safety

The author in the second para is describing right-wing minarchism, which is not libertarianism per se. The author puzzlingly characterizes libertarians as clueless, anti-authoritarian Utopians. These kinds of articles are a waste of mental bandwidth as the author has not even bothered to consider the possibility that he/she is not the well of wisdom and that a sizable number of very bright people may have already thought of his or her objections and written responses to them. Spooner, Molinari, Nock, Rothbard, Nozick - just to name a few - have all tackled these very objections.

I guess that what is missing from most popular discussions of libertarianism is a justification for the assumption that there must be a territorial monopoly on security and law. There are historical counter-examples to this. And even if there weren't, as has been noted by Malachi, that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about "human nature"... it could just be telling us something about human progress, and its potential.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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For some reason I still cant copy and paste worth a fuck and I was going to rebut the whole article but theres just no point. Clayton pointed out that the author has no familiarity with libertarianism, I was going to point out that the author isnt even familiar with the actual cases he attempts to make his point with. He mentions afghanistan as a failure of libertarianism in the last 30 years. I got news for you, buddy, there have been over two dozen central governments at work in afghanistan over the past 30 years, and not one of them has been libertarian.

EDITED TO ADD: he goes on to state his thesis, libertarianism hasnt worked for the same reason it will never work, power corrupts. Well thats also kind of the point. Most of his examples are easily rebuttable by explaining the "organized crime theory of government". You can also attack his thesis directly by addressing the issues in power and corruption and how market processes solve them.

Keep the faith, Strannix. -Casey Ryback, Under Siege (Steven Seagal)
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I think the point of such articles isn't so much (if at all) to refute libertarianism as to engender certain associations with the word "libertarianism".

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

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By the way, I relish the thought of liberals mentioning Afghanistan and Somalia - really, the Western characterization of Somali and Afghani culture is a kind of "soft racism"... those silly brown and black people think you can have a society with no rules! How dumb!

When you scratch even slightly below the surface, you find that both countries have rich legal and cultural traditions from which Westerners - in our smug, infinite wisdom - could learn a thing or two. Somali Xeer, for example, has proved to be remarkably durable. The Somalis have been split three ways - British colonization in the North, Italian colonization in the South, and Ethiopian and Kenyan aggression in the West. Nevertheless, Somalis have maintained their Xeer legal system despite all odds. Under colonial rule, Xeer was itself prohibited (under Italian rule but it was none-too-favored by the British, either) but the British and Italian courts dispensed rough and arbitrary justice and cared little about settling the disputes of locals. So, they turned to Xeer anyway. Somalis regularly do business across the Somalia-Ethiopia border despite the risks and dangers created by the Ethiopian government... all because they have a durable and wise legal system that allows them to conquer such immense odds.

Afghan Pushtanwali is no less admirable and shares a few structural features in common with Xeer - it is tribal law and the rights of the individual are inviolable within the legal context. Both Pashtun law and Xeer have very strong property rights protections, much stronger in effect than property rights in the modern West. No king or warlord can rightfully seize anyone's property, not for taxes, not for tolls, not for anything.

It is true that, in both countries, you have to pay for your own security detail if you're traveling through the wilderness. But so what? Why should other people have to pay for your security, anyway? Since when is the ability to wander about the wilderness without fear of molestation by roving bands of marauders the litmus test of civilization? And the protection in so-called developed nations is exaggerated - it turns out that wandering around in the wilderness is dangerous no matter where you live.

The characterization of Somalis and Afghanis as "libertarian" is laughable on every count. While their legal systems do acknowledge the inviolable rights of the individual, this is no Utopianism, it's simple acknowledgement of fact. But you'd rather be dead than be cast out of the Somali legal system in Somalia. There is no fate worse than ostracism as you become fair game for those very roving bands of marauders. In other words, your inviolable rights as an individual include your inviolable right to "go it alone" if you're not going to respect the legal rights and duties you have under Xeer law. Once you are an outlaw, in all probability you will be killed, or worse, by Somali marauders.

Clayton -

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.com
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