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How would you convince a poor person to become libertarian?

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:13 PM

Yes, it is too bad.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:14 PM

So now what, JimmyJazz? Clearly I'm still right here.

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To give my answer to the OP’s question-

If she was a friend of mine, I’d help her with childcare so she could go to school at night.  Nothing like developing self-reliance to help one appreciate the merits of self-reliance.  If she was my friend, she’d know my views and be respectful of them, so down the road I’d have high hopes that she’d understand and become convinced.

If she wasn’t a friend of mine, I’d leave her alone.

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:14 PM

Oh that stuff. I thought you meant defining "libertarian" and "left of center". I have no idea how I didn't process that you were talking about "ad hominem".

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Well in the low-content thread I just made a post about how I'm trying to figure out the difference between a liberal and a progressive.

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:15 PM

@ Lady Saiga - HOW would you convince her of your views?  I mean, how do you know she would not convince YOU of her views "down the road"?  (Let's say her views are in favor of one of the two major parties).

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Just so you know JimmyJazz, I made a response to your original post as well...

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:19 PM

JimmyJazz:
@ Lady Saiga - HOW would you convince her of your views?  I mean, how do you know she would not convince YOU of her views "down the road"?  (Let's say her views are in favor of one of the two major parties).

Pssst, Lady Saiga - JimmyJazz's intention is to try to prove that you necessarily won't be able to convince her of your views.

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:26 PM

Lady Saiga, I respect your right to decide my intentions for yourself.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:27 PM

Oh please do tell me how I'm not respecting that.

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Well, I know why I believe what I believe, and the whole experience of my life as it stands at this moment reinforces those beliefs.  But if my friend introduces me to a new way of thinking and I decide she’s right, then there’s no downside to that process, is there?  If I’m honest, and she’s honest, we’ll both listen to each other and actually think about it.  If either of us is dishonest then the whole process falls apart, being useless.

My experience is most people are honest and, even if it takes them a long time, eventually admit that libertarianism makes sense to them.   Whether they choose to act upon that understanding can be another story, though.  Most people seem to think libertarianism is “impractical” if logical.  But bringing someone even to that point can take a lot of familiarity and comfortable dialog over the course of a relationship.  No other “conversion” method, in my opinion, works.

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:34 PM

Thanks, Lady Saiga.  I guess what I'm wondering with this thread is what happens if someone isn't interested in hearing about how libertarianism could possibly create the greatest good for society at large, if they are too focused on concrete material benefits that (they believe) are derived from voting for a particular major party or major party's candidate.

Should such people be written off, or can they potentially overcome their immediate self-interest in favor of a system which would benefit society at large and, in the long run, them as well?

Also, given that a "truly free market" is not likely to come about any time soon, would such a person be rational to abandon their short-term self-interest in favor of merely incremental movement in the direction of a more market-oriented society?  Or would they be irrational to do so?

EDIT: If they would be irrational to do so, does that mean that libertarians are acting irrationally if they spend (waste) time trying to convert this person to embrace something other than her own rational self-interest?

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JimmyJazz, you never responded to my post.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:39 PM

JimmyJazz:
Should such people be written off, or can they potentially overcome their immediate self-interest in favor of a system which would benefit society at large and, in the long run, them as well?

Who's to say what their immediate self-interest necessarily is?

It's sounding more and more to me like the real purpose of this thread is to stealthily paint libertarians as either not caring about the poor or wanting to hurt the poor.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:39 PM

SkepticalMetal, I wouldn't expect him to - he's clearly cherry-picking with his responses, which implies an ulterior motive on his part.

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:40 PM

@SkepticalMetal - sorry the thread has moved quickly.  I read it, and I acknowledged it by including your warning against Soviet Russia and Maoist China in my post summarizing the suggestions of the first page of this thread.

I understand your points such as about the minimum wage.  Duly noted.

 

By the way, I am going to be away from my computer for the rest of the evening.  But, since I never intended this as any kind of debate thread, my responses aren't really necessary for the thread to continue.  I am still curious what others have to say about how to convince this hypothetical person, or someone roughly like her, to become a libertarian.  (Or, alternately, whether they would consider such a person not as good a target for converting to libertarianism as, say, a college-educated white male).

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:42 PM

JimmyJazz, in light of you actually responding to SkepticalMetal, I'll reiterate my demand that you show just where I said I'd suggest to your hypothetical poor black single mother that she dig ditches.

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But I don’t, and I doubt many others here on this forum do, see libertarianism as a departure from that self-interest.  If you’re approaching it from a left-of-center perspective, perhaps you see the philosophy as solely concerned with the greatest good.  That’s not my impression, or my focus, at all.  There’s no conflict between self-interest and the interests of the society in libertarianism.  Not even in the short term, as I see it.

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JimmyJazz replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:45 PM

@Autolykos -

I don't reply to "demands".  You are being very hostile.  I was considering apologizing for a possible mistatement on my part, but now that you've phrased it as a "demand" I will have to harden my stance.  As your avatar would say: Good DAY, sir.

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@ JimmyJazz

I see. I think it would have been better if you would have left the hypothetical story out of this - I'm pretty sure this thread would have been much more...smoothe if you just would have asked "how would you go about convincing a poor person relying on the nanny state that he or she should convert to libertarianism?"

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:48 PM

JimmyJazz:

I was considering apologizing for a possible mistatement on my part, but now that you've phrased it as a "demand" I will have to harden my stance.

It was a definite misstatement. Nice try.

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Autolykos replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 3:48 PM

JimmyJazz:
@Autolykos -

I don't reply to "demands".

Oh, I think you do, no matter how long it may take.

JimmyJazz:
You are being very hostile.

Tell me something I don't already know. I consider you to deserve hostility from me in spades.

JimmyJazz:
I was considering apologizing for a possible mistatement on my part,

Suuuuure you were. Tell that to someone who might actually believe you.

JimmyJazz:
but now that you've phrased it as a "demand" I will have to harden my stance.

I have no problem hardening mine at least as much in return. Do you understand?

JimmyJazz:
As your avatar would say: Good DAY, sir.

I'm not going anywhere. Try again, buddy.

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Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

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Autokylos, let's have a return to the Picard facepalm. Wonka is a little too...intimidating.

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My caption for Wonka is, "Tell me more."

http://thephoenixsaga.com/
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weedface replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 4:13 PM

you start out by pointing out how the state has made her poorer, how before you could literally work a shitty a job at a factory and afford a house and send your kids to college, explain how the standard of living has gone down while keeping it on a personal level so she can relate, explain how what the government is doing is in fact just going to make her poorer

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Yes, not many parents would want their children to live under fascism.

It doesn't even need to be fascism. Minimum wage laws, state "education", the war on drugs, the welfare culture etc. all harm the child's opportunities for gainful employment. The hypothetical woman in question also is disadvantaged in many ways by the state, and it is in large part why she's reliant on it.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Yeah. Leftists want the state to step in and help people...who have been hurt by the state.

Speaking of which, I always feel a little odd about saying "leftist," and I see a lot of libertarians getting called "right-wing" for their views.

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It's literally a meaningless term.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Why do you say that?

I mean, normally a lot of people see the center-left as being the home of liberals/progressives, and the center-right being the home of conservatives and cultural nationalists. The far-left has communists and socialists, and the far-right has Nazis and Fascists.

But then, I've heard stuff about how Nazism should be on the far-left being that it's National Socialism, and many people state that Fascism should be far-left aswell, so...it just gets confusing as hell from there for me.

Where would you position libertarianism?

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gotlucky replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 4:34 PM

SkepticalMetal:

Where would you position libertarianism?

El Dorado, for obvious reasons.

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Very funny, ha-ha.

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Why do you say that?

Because it is so divorced from its origins that it's lost all real meaning. IIRC, It originally referred to which side of the French assembly its members arrayed themselves, with those on the left being for free trade and those on the right for protectionism. So that is basically the polar opposite of what the term now refers to. It's further confused by how it can allude to anything from Nazism to anarcho-capitalism. These two ideologies have nothing in common. Even the addition of "authoritarian" and "libertarian" poles doesn't change much because of the confused manner in which the terms "right" and "left" are used.

In many respects anarcho-capitalists and other market anarchists are "left-wing", more so than the supposed authoritarian "champions" of the left. I think the terms spawn a lot of confusion and waste people's time. It is more important to try come to grips with the fundamental implications of each ideology than where it sits on some ill-conceived political spectrum.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Wasn't classical liberalism historically the left-wing approach?  Being that it advocates for individual liberty as opposed to a monarchy in which the country is one big support structure for the king? 

It's funny to me because, socialism being an "all-is-state" kind of idea, seems to be the utter right wing in my way of thinking. 

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Yes, it was. The right wing has always characterised European style conservatism, and with all the permutations it has gone through, American conservatism. But it also subsumes fascism and could arguably integrate all forms of collectivist thinking. I don't think the terms help a lot. Framing things in terms of voluntaryism vs authoritarianism is a bit less murky, because ultimately those are the meaningful alternatives.

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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Marko replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 6:48 PM

Yuck. I wouldn't speak to a poor person.

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Jargon replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 7:01 PM

There's a few things that need be said in response:

The pattern of single mothers in government housing is aided by minimum wage laws and the drug war, which keeps people out of the employment circuit by imprisonment or involuntary unemployment. But also, there are more single mothers today because there is welfare available, meaning that if welfare weren't available she probably wouldn't have had the child in the first place. It's not fair to the rest of the populace to be held hostage by single-mothers who treat themselves and their promiscuous lifestyles to the public coffer.

Then there are all the standard answers which would help anyone who isn't a state-privileged corporation in the free market, not just a particular demographic: lower inflation, better banking services, more employment, cheaper healthcare, lower barrier to entry thus greater market competition, no more patent trolls, no more wasted tax dollars on killing people you don't know, no more wasted tax dollars on bureaucracies. Sure maybe that single mother isn't paying taxes, but with the investment spurred on by that money if it hadn't been spent on bureaucracy, the economy would be better, delivering cheaper goods and providing more employment.

 

I think the basest implication of your question however, is that poor people can't have ideals. You're saying that because this woman works hard and lives in government housing, it is impossible for her to think beyond her own immediate personal benefit. Who's the poor-hater now?

Libertarianism doesn't offer anything to blacks, mexicans, chinese, whites, single mothers, families, unioinists, corporations, conservatives, liberals, etc. It doesn't seek to dole out favors here and there according to lobbyists and loud voices. All it offers is peace, liberty and prosperity. If you want those things, then support Libertarianism.

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The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist. -Ernst Jünger

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Groucho replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 7:43 PM

JimmyJazz:
So, what would you say to this person to convince her to become a libertarian?

How do you know she isn't a libertarian? Stereotype?

Anyway, assuming she is a moral person, the easiest way would be to demonstrate that she already possesses libertarian ethics and values. From there, it is up to her if she wishes to vote for governance that contradics her own values.

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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Tell her that things will be cheaper without the government.

“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence."
"The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”

http://voluntaryistreader.wordpress.org

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AJ replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 9:29 PM
+1 Kevin. While I find the initial responses to this thread bizarre, the argument is extremely easy to make. In fact, poor people ought to be the very easiest people to convince, because they have the most to gain. They are hit hardest by the machinations of the state.
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gotlucky replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 9:33 PM

AJ, it's sort of a seen vs unseen effect, tho. Welfare checks are obvious gains to their income. The claim that prices would be lower if only the market would be free can sound speculative and risky in comparison to that concrete check. If you have time to spare and have examples of government interference screwing with things directly related to their life, then it's probably very effective.

Basically, I agree that it's an effective argument, I'm just not sure if it's necessarily easy.

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