Friday, December 27, 2013

What's new

NEW 12/19/2013: The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone
Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society. -- Publishers Weekly [more...]
NEW 12/19/2013: The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. [more...]
NEW 12/19/2013: Right Hook: The Tactics of Conservative Criticism [More...]
"Over the past few years, there have been some big hitting books from the left criticising inequality, capitalism and 'free market' economics or neoliberalism. Naturally, these books have received a lot of criticism from the right. However, sometimes it seems that this criticism is overzealous: an attempt not merely to question the book, but discredit it entirely, and accuse the authors of various misrepresentations of facts and people along the way." Examples from The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone' by Kate Pickett & Richard Wilkinson, 'Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class' by Owen Jones, and 'The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism' by Naomi Klein. [more...]
NEW 12/19/2013: Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire [More...]
"BitCoin looks like it was designed as a weapon intended to damage central banking and money issuing banks, with a Libertarian political agenda in mind.... Which is fine if you're a Libertarian, but I tend to take the stance that Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density...." [more...]
NEW 12/12/2013: Bitcoin Proves The Libertarian Idea Of Paradise Would Be Hell On Earth [More...]
The bit coin experience is characterized by radical instability, chaos, the rise of a boss-class of criminals who assassinate people they don't like, and a mass handover of wealth to a minority even smaller than the 1% that currently lauds it in the United States. [more...]
NEW 12/10/2013: Force and Fraud
Not normal definitions: redefined to be anything libertarians dislike. See: Coercion[more...]
NEW 12/09/2013: The Founding Fathers Of The USA
Libertarians frequently claim the founding fathers were libertarians based on cherry-picked quotations, mostly from slave owners. Does that show that libertarians endorse slavery? [more...]
NEW 12/09/2013: Were the Founders Libertarians? [More...]
Of course not. David Frum condemns this revisionism and points out that the mental outlook of the founders was wholly different based on religious belief, material scarcity, and slaveholding. [more...]
NEW 12/08/2013: Murphy on US and Canadian Unemployment during the 1930s: A Critique [More...]
Robert Murphy's claims that Canada had a much better recovery without government intervention during the Great Depression are based on comparing apples to oranges.[more...]
NEW 12/07/2013: Schuller’s Challenge to Misesian Apriorists has never been answered [More...]
George Schuller provided a devastating epistemological critique of Human Action's praexology in 1951, that has never been answered. Easy to understand. [more...]
NEW 12/06/2013: Bitcoinmania at FT Alphaville [More...]
The Financial Times blog on Bitcoin shenannigans. Properly skeptical. [more...]
NEW 12/01/2013: The Minimum We Can Do [More...]
Raising the minimum wage reduces poverty, has next to zero effect on employment, complements Earned-Income Tax Credit, benefits labor markets by reducing turnover, and has widespread support for its fairness. [more...]
NEW 12/01/2013: Sorry, Folks, Rich People Actually Don't 'Create The Jobs' [More...]
"So, if rich people do not create the jobs, what does? A healthy economic ecosystem -- one in which most participants (especially the middle class) have plenty of money to spend." [more...]
NEW 12/01/2013: Entrepreneurs (or investors) create jobs.
A half-truth: they also discard jobs just as readily. Sustainability of jobs is created by consumers and other social factors that enable a profit from jobs. [more...]
Most of the world, including the USA, is a plutocracy: ruled by and for the rich, the .01%. Libertarians with their obsession with property tend to favor this status quo. Also known as plutonomy and plutarchy, closely related to oligarchy. [more...]
Private Charity
Private charity is the libertarian's magical alternative to government redistribution. All of history shows that private charity has never and never will be up to the task of alleviating problems of poverty and other injustice. [more...]
Libertarianism Is Not Liberalism
The overriding role of property and capitalism in libertarianism prevents it from fulfilling liberal objectives and contradicts basic liberal ideas. [more...]
John Galt
The magical libertarian of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, even more implausible than her other characters. A Prester John figure presiding over a fictional libertarian utopia.[more...]
Microfoundations would be nice if we had them [More...]
"Once again, let me reiterate that the big problem with 'microfounded' macro, as I see it, is that the 'microfoundations' are bad: not credible, and generally not consistent with anything microeconomists have actually found. Bad microfoundations are worse than none at all." [more...]

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Introduction By Will Kymlicka (second edition, 2002)

Lists my site at the end of the chapter on libertarianism, page 160.

He writes:
Useful websites include:
(d) 'Critiques of Libertarianism', a website with an extensive set of links critiquing libertarian theories and policy proposals (
It only took me 11 years to notice that I've made it into one of the standard political philosophy textbooks.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Introduction To Libertarianism

I've finally produced a good enough Introduction To Libertarianism to place it at the top of my web site.

Please make suggestions or corrections.  My biggest concern is that it is too dense to read easily, and so I'm especially open to editorial suggestions.

Introduction To Libertarianism

What Is Libertarianism?

Libertarianism is a cacaphony of political ideas united only by a rhetoric of liberty and freedom. On this website, libertarianism refers only to the right-wing, capitalist versions. At this point, libertarian ideas have entered the mainstream media and are unavoidable. Some further description of the cacophony is available at What Is Libertarianism?

What Libertarianism Is NOT Considered On This Website?

Left-wing, socialist libertarianism's exist, but they are comparatively tiny and not problems. Nor are we discussing the ancient, nondeterministic, philosophical libertarianism concept that means free will.

Three Realms of Libertarianism.

Libertarianism can be divided into three major realms. (There might be unimportant others.)

Political Libertarianism

Political libertarianism is the libertarianism that we are exposed to through the media, a mass market astroturf libertarianism.
Political libertarianism, like the media, is controlled top-down by plutocrats and operated for the benefit of plutocrats. It is not about "liberty" or "freedom": it is about ownership. The plutocrats want to convince the populace that:
  • Ownership of the vast majority of the world's wealth by plutocrats is legitimate and untouchable.
  • Changing that distribution will result in assorted horrors for everybody, including loss of liberty and freedom.
The plutocrats objective is political change to get more wealth and prevent losing any wealth to taxation or other liabilities.
Political libertarianism is dominated by public relations programs that have been around since at least the 1930's, reacting to Progressivism. The Mount Pelerin Society in the 1950's began a great expansion of these programs. The Koch brothers have largely organized or controlled these public relations programs, and they scored their first big successes in the 1980's under Reagan. Without the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into public relations programs, right-wing political libertarianism would be just another fringe political belief as small as left-libertarianism.
This is also called vulgar libertarianism by Kevin Carson. The message really is: “Them pore ole bosses need all the help they can get.”
Political libertarianism maintains a continual drumbeat of propaganda: attempting to inject libertarian ideas and terminology into almost every public issue while filtering out opposition, because repetition is the heart of propaganda. A more complete description of this methodology is found in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Political libertarianism is not the only plutocratic tool: much conservatism is similarly exploited, for example by the Heritage Foundation and most recently by the Tea Party.
Political libertarianism is why the Critiques Of Libertarianism site is so very large: propagandists attempt to shoehorn almost every issue and subject into libertarian ideology.

Individualistic Libertarianism

Individualistic libertarianism is what the targets of political libertarianism believe. This is a huge morass of conflicting ideas with only one constant: the political libertarian idea that ownership should be sacred. Ask a libertarian what part of ownership they would give up to achieve any other social end, and they will say no part. It doesn't matter if some socialistic government (such as roads or defense) would benefit the lives of everybody; they despise it because it conflicts with their property, no matter how meager.
Individualistic libertarians are in large part shaped by the propaganda organs of Political Libertarianism. For example, the Libertarian Party, the Cato InstituteReason Magazine and many other sources are parts of the Kochtopus, a huge number of organizations and publications founded, funded, or controlled by Charles and David Koch over roughly 40 years. These in turn direct recruits to a number of fundamental books that help indoctrinate the important propaganda themes.
Individualistic libertarianism is bottom-up: it is not controlled directly by political libertarians beyond manipulation by propaganda. These useful idiots can be relied upon to inject libertarian viewpoints into discussions that are not controlled by the mass media. They are as welcome as door-to-door evangelists from another religion.
Individualistic libertarianism ranges from the honorable and sincere to the vile and repulsive, with stops along the way for the immature, foolish, and intemperate. You've got your government haters, racists, sexists, pederasts, conspiracy theorists, tax evaders, exploiters and other socially repulsive types generously represented in this category. Especially because they are rejected by mainstream parties for obnoxious views. That's not entirely bad, as Noam Chomsky has observed: libertarians have great tolerance of diverse views as long as they denounce government and promote private property.

Libertarian Philosophy

Libertarian philosophy is mostly corrupt: much of it is funded by plutocrats to provide ideas and materials for their public relations campaigns. Hayek, for example, never held an academic position that wasn't funded by plutocrats. Milton Friedman and Robert Nozick might seem exceptions to this funding generalization, until you consider what class Harvard and the University Of Chicago serve (both are private universities relying on wealthy funders.).
  • apriori reasoning
  • natural rights
  • self-ownership
  • individualism
  • the assumption of property
  • single value reasoning
  • misframings
  • ignoring anthropology
These are all erroneous assumptions or fallacies of argument.
For more on this, see the Philosophy index.

Why Is Libertarianism Important?

For the same reason why Fascism is important: it is a noxious ideology that would lead to great repression and suffering. It is an ideology that would roll back the progressive policies that have diminished poverty and brought about the largest middle class ever known. It is an ideology that would diminish democracy. And because it is one of the major tools of plutocrats to justify and promote their plutocracy.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Update on my Simple critique of Bitcoin

Two and a half years ago I wrote Simple critique of Bitcoin, and my first prediction is coming true.  I wrote:

Bitcoin MIGHT work if only it was able to be unique. But there is nothing to stop a proliferation of identical networked coinage systems. Even if it were patented, the patent would expire. With no intellectual property protection, we would see an unlimited set of identical citcoin, ditcoin, etceteracoin. 

[Added 12/6/13] So this is how fiat currency dies, with thunderous CPUs?
As predicted, Litecoin has arisen.  And it can make 4 times as many coins!  It is open source, and thus can be reimplemented over and over by anybody who wants to open yet another bubble.  But worse, "In fact, Cryptocoincharts shows something in the region of 164 different virtual currency-based cross rates in the market..."  which means a minimum of 13 competing currencies.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Amazon Prime Air drone package delivery system

Libertarians no doubt will wail about the FAA restricting this "important progress".  Until they have to shut up because somebody starts delivering thermite bombs to the roofs of buildings with unregistered and unregulated drones.  Paid for with bitcoins, of course.  :-)

All law enforcement, including laws libertarians like about property and such, is based on making people accountable.  When technology produces a new technique for evading accountability, it is proper to require regulation of that technology.