Monday, December 29, 2014

A thought.

Couldn't the Democratic and Republican parties negotiate a pact agreeing that they will not nominate either Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush?  Political dynasties are a very bad idea.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Recent Quotations

Here are a bunch of the most recently added quotations.  The red lines are the categories I've filed these in.

More deeply though there's something about how the rhetoric of 'freedom' and 'liberty' appeals to the 'neo-Confederate' mindset which is paradoxical and considerably more toxic and corrosive than the ways many of us think about those terms. Freedom can also mean freedom from any check on my actions. My freedom. My group's freedom. A warlord who totally dominates his followers has a sort of perfect liberty and freedom. Just not quite the sort we think of in a civic context. It's the same authoritarian mindset of Stormfront and the militia crazies, just through this looking glass where it twists into 'freedom' and 'liberty'.
Josh Marshall, "Keeping It Real on 'neo-Confederate Libertarians'"
Freedom (propaganda), Josh Marshall, Keeping It Real on 'neo-Confederate Libertarians', Liberty (propaganda), Quotations, Racists
What has been created by this half century of massive corporate propaganda is what's called "anti-politics". So that anything that goes wrong, you blame the government. Well okay, there's plenty to blame the government about, but the government is the one institution that people can change... the one institution that you can affect without institutional change. That's exactly why all the anger and fear has been directed at the government. The government has a defect - it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect - they're pure tyrannies. So therefore you want to keep corporations invisible, and focus all anger on the government. So if you don't like something, you know, your wages are going down, you blame the government. Not blame the guys in the Fortune 500, because you don't read the Fortune 500. You just read what they tell you in the newspapers... so you don't read about the dazzling profits and the stupendous dizz, and the wages going down and so on, all you know is that the bad government is doing something, so let's get mad at the government.
Noam Chomsky
Corporate Threats to Liberty, Corporations, Government, How Libertarian Ideas And Attitudes Are Spread, Noam Chomsky, Quotations, Wall Street, Corporatists, Neoliberals And Plutocrats
If the State may be said to properly own its territory, then it is proper for it to make rules for anyone who presumes to live in that area. It can legitimately seize or control private property because there is no private property in its area, because it really owns the entire land surface. So long as the State permits its subjects to leave its territory, then, it can be said to act as does any other owner who sets down rules for people living on his property.
Murray Rothbard, "The Ethics of Liberty"
Government, Murray Rothbard, Property, Quotations, The Ethics of Liberty
Why do people on the right hate monetary expansion, even when it’s desperately needed? One answer is the power of truthiness -- Stephen Colbert’s justly famed term for things that aren’t true, but feel true to some people. “The Fed is printing money, printing money leads to inflation, and inflation is always a bad thing” is a triply untrue statement, but it feels true to a lot of people. And, yes, a tendency to prefer truthiness to more complicated truth is and pretty much always has been associated with political conservatism, and this tendency is especially strong in an era when leading politicians get their monetary theory from Ayn Rand novels.
Paul Krugman, "The Deflation Caucus"
Ayn Rand, Currency, Paul Krugman, Quotations, The Deflation Caucus
[...] a huge part of the problem is the Jeffersonian notion that “the government that governs best is the one that governs least.” While that is true as regards individual liberty, it is absolutely dangerous to think that way as regards the economy.
Christian Parenti, "Reading Hamilton From the Left"
Capitalism, Christian Parenti, Deregulation, Globalization, Free Trade and Economic Freedom, Laissez Faire, Mercantilism And Industrial Policy Works, Quotations, Reading Hamilton From the Left, Thomas Jefferson
The state is the necessary but not sufficient pre-condition for capitalism’s development. There is no creative destruction, competition, innovation, and accumulation without the “shadow socialism” of the public sector and state planning.
Christian Parenti, "Reading Hamilton From the Left"
Capitalism, Christian Parenti, Mercantilism And Industrial Policy Works, Quotations, Reading Hamilton From the Left
Outside a unionized workplace or the public sector, what most workers are agreeing to when they sign an employment contract is the alienation of many of their basic rights (speech, privacy, association, and so on) in exchange for pay and benefits. They may think they’re only agreeing to do a specific job, but what they are actually agreeing to do is to obey the commands and orders of their boss. It’s close to a version of Hobbesian contract theory—“The end of obedience is protection”—in which the worker gets money, benefits, and perhaps security in exchange for a radical alienation of her will.
Chris Bertram, "Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace"
Alex Gourevitch, Chris Bertram, Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, Corey Robin, Let It Bleed: Libertarianism and the Workplace, Quotations, Rights, The Workplace
But we know God hath not left one man so to the mercy of another, that he may starve him if he please: God the Lord and Father of all has given no one of his children such a property in his peculiar portion of the things of this world, but that he has given his needy brother a right to the surplusage of his goods; so that it cannot justly be denied him, when his pressing wants call for it: and therefore no man could ever have a just power over the life of another by right of property in land or possessions; since it would always be a sin, in any man of estate, to let his brother perish for want of affording him relief out of his plenty.
John Locke, "Two Treatises on Government, Chapter 4, §. 42."
John Locke, Property, Quotations, Redistribution, The Lockean Fable of Initial Acquisition, Two Treatises on Government
As it happens, I was reading a book about my second-favourite period of UK history over the weekend. It’s amusing to note how many of the arguments of the kind “raising labour standards will close down the factories and send the poor into horrible scavenging”, are nearly word-for-word copies of similar arguments made in the 1830s against the child labour laws passed in England. They were wrong then …
Daniel Davies, "Globollocks, v2.0"
Child Labor, Daniel Davies, Globalization, Free Trade and Economic Freedom, Globollocks, v2.0, Quotations
Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man’s own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.
Thomas Paine, "Agrarian Justice"
Agrarian Justice, Institutions, Property, Quotations, Taxes, Thomas Paine
Land, as before said, is the free gift of the Creator in common to the human race. Personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally.
Thomas Paine, "Agrarian Justice"
Agrarian Justice, Property, Quotations, Thomas Paine
There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it; neither did the Creator of the earth open a land-office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue.
Thomas Paine, "Agrarian Justice"
Agrarian Justice, Property, Quotations, Thomas Paine
What’s curious is that conservative economists are well aware of the danger of “regulatory capture”, in which public institutions are hijacked by vested interests, yet blithely dismiss (or refuse even to mention) the essentially equivalent problem of democratic institutions hijacked by concentrated wealth. I take regulatory capture quite seriously; but I take plutocratic capture equally seriously.
Paul Krugman, "Sympathy for the Trustafarians"
Deregulation, Greg Mankiw, Obstructing Regulation And Regulatory Capture, Paul Krugman, Plutocracy, Quotations, Sympathy for the Trustafarians
For that matter, where was the libertarian right during the great struggles for individual liberty in America in the last half-century? The libertarian movement has been conspicuously absent from the campaigns for civil rights for nonwhites, women, gays and lesbians. Most, if not all, libertarians support sexual and reproductive freedom (though Rand Paul has expressed doubts about federal civil rights legislation). But civil libertarian activists are found overwhelmingly on the left. Their right-wing brethren have been concerned with issues more important than civil rights, voting rights, abuses by police and the military, and the subordination of politics to religion -- issues like the campaign to expand human freedom by turning highways over to toll-extracting private corporations and the crusade to funnel money from Social Security to Wall Street brokerage firms.
Michael Lind, "Why libertarians apologize for autocracy"
Civil Rights, Democracy, Dictators And Other Anti-Democratic Authoritarians, Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Inequality, Michael Lind, Quotations, Why libertarians apologize for autocracy
But the Grab World baseline allows us to see that all economic institutions are restrictions and infringements on liberty. Property is the most liberty-destroying and all-encompassing of the restrictive economic institutions, but contracts, patents, copyrights, securities, corporations, and so on do the same thing. With Grab World as the actual blank slate starting point baseline, it's clear that all we are debating about is what set of liberty-infringing restrictions are the best ones (unless you actually advocate the Grab World).
Matt Bruenig, "The Lesson of Grab What You Can"
Institutions, Matt Bruenig, Non-Aggression, Property, Quotations, The Lesson of Grab What You Can
The market fundamentalists of Technology Liberation Front and Silicon Valley would love you to believe that “permissionless innovation” is somehow organic to “the internet,” but in fact it is an experiment we conducted for a long time in the US, and the experiment proved that it does not work. From the EPA to the FDA to OSHA, nearly every Federal (and State) regulatory agency exists because of significant, usually deadly failures of industry to restrain itself.
David Golumbia, "“Permissionless Innovation”: Using Technology to Dismantle the Republic"
David Golumbia, Environment, Freedom Through Technology, Harms Of Libertarian Policies, Permissionless Innovation, Quotations, Regulation, Responsibility, “Permissionless Innovation”: Using Technology to Dismantle the Republic
Libertarianism is the One Weird Trick For Solving Any Issue, Politicians HATE Us! of politics. It reduces many of the most complex problems in the world to a set of answers concise enough that they can fit on the back of a business card (isolationism, tiny government, bare minimal taxation).
Kirkaine, "Libertarians are primarily concerned with feeling correct, not about real world results."
Capitalism, Markets and Laissez-Faire, How Libertarian Ideas And Attitudes Are Spread, Kirkaine, Libertarian Economic And Political Experiments, Libertarians are primarily concerned with feeling correct, not about real world results., Predictions That Never Come True, Quotations, Unclassified Criticisms
The bloodstained story of economic individualism and unrestrained capitalist competition does not, I should have thought, today need stressing. Nevertheless, in view of the astonishing opinions which some of my critics have imputed to me, I should […] have made even clearer […] the evils of unrestricted laissez-faire.
Isaiah Berlin, "Four Essays on Liberty"
Capitalism, Four Essays on Liberty, Isaiah Berlin, Laissez Faire, Quotations
I do not wish to say that individual freedom is, even in the most liberal societies, the sole, or even the dominant, criterion of social action. We compel children to be educated, and we forbid public executions. These are certainly curbs to freedom. We justify them on the ground that ignorance, or a barbarian upbringing, or cruel pleasures and excitements are worse for us than the amount of restraint needed to repress them.
Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Isaiah Berlin, Liberty, Quotations, Two Concepts of Liberty
In so far as I live in society, everything that I do inevitably affects, and is affected by, what others do. Even Mill's strenuous effort to mark the distinction between the spheres of private and social life breaks down under examination. Virtually all Mill's critics have pointed out that everything that I do may have results which will harm other human beings.
Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Externalities, Isaiah Berlin, John Stuart Mill, Liberty, Quotations, Two Concepts of Liberty
First things come first [...] individual freedom is not everyone's primary need.
Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Isaiah Berlin, Liberty, Quotations, There Are Important Values Besides Liberty, Two Concepts of Liberty
Almost every moralist in human history has praised freedom. Like happiness and goodness, like nature and reality, it is a term whose meaning is so porous that there is little interpretation that it seems able to resist.
Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty"
Isaiah Berlin, Libertarians Misunderstand Liberty, Liberty, Positive and Negative Liberty, Quotations, Two Concepts of Liberty
But what do people mean who proclaim that liberty is the palm, and the prize, and the crown, seeing that it is an idea of which there are two hundred definitions, and that this wealth of interpretation has caused more bloodshed than anything, except theology?
Lord Acton, "Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History"
Liberty, Lord Acton, Quotations
[A]ll these economic theories are at least debatable and often highly questionable. Contrary to what professional economists will typically tell you, economics is not a science. All economic theories have underlying political and ethical assumptions, which make it impossible to prove them right or wrong in the way we can with theories in physics or chemistry.
Ha-Joon Chang, "Economics is too important to leave to the experts"
Common Fallacies Of Economics, Economics Should Not Tell Us What To Do, Economics is too important to leave to the experts, Ha-Joon Chang, Quotations, Supply-Side Economics
All ownership derives from occupation and violence. [...] That all rights derive from violence, all ownership from appropriation or robbery, we may freely admit to those who oppose ownership on considerations of natural law.
Ludwig von Mises, "Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis" Ch. 1, section 2.
Coercion, Ludwig von Mises, Property, Quotations, Rights
[T]he people who insist on being armed as a "demonstration" or a "protest" are using the second amendment to quell dissent. And they are forcing unarmed law abiding citizens to behave in different ways toward them than they behave with others --- less freedom for them, more for the gun owners. Once you put convenient, lethal force in the mix, liberty becomes a zero sum game.
Heather Parton, "Speaking of guns"
Digby, Guns, Quotations, Speaking of guns
People who dismiss the unemployed and dependent as ‘parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.
Jason Read, "How a USM professor became an Internet meme"
Class War, Jason Read, Quotations, Wall Street, Corporatists, Neoliberals And Plutocrats
Normally, conservatives extol the magic of markets and the adaptability of the private sector, which is supposedly able to transcend with ease any constraints posed by, say, limited supplies of natural resources. But as soon as anyone proposes adding a few limits to reflect environmental issues -- such as a cap on carbon emissions -- those all-capable corporations supposedly lose any ability to cope with change.
Paul Krugman, "Crazy Climate Economics"
Crazy Climate Economics, Deregulation, Environment, Free Market, Paul Krugman, Quotations, Responsibility
So how do you do useful economics? In general, what we really do is combine maximization-and-equilibrium as a first cut with a variety of ad hoc modifications reflecting what seem to be empirical regularities about how both individual behavior and markets depart from this idealized case. [...] But here’s the thing: economists have done their work this way for generations. So it’s really not a new paradigm. If anything, the true new paradigm was the attempt to justify everything with maximization and equilibrium -- but that’s the paradigm that failed.
Paul Krugman, "Paradigming Is Hard"
Economics 101, Market Failure, Paradigming Is Hard, Paul Krugman, Quotations
There were some -- Frédéric Bastiat and Jean-Baptiste Say come to mind -- who believed that government should put the unemployed to work building infrastructure when markets or production were temporarily disrupted.
Brad DeLong, "American Conservatism’s Crisis of Ideas"
American Conservatism’s Crisis of Ideas, Brad DeLong, Frederic Bastiat, Jean-Baptiste Say, Non-Libertarians Supposedly Supporting Libertarian Viewpoints, Quotations
Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.
Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (1928), Chapter 13
Bertrand Russell, Capitalism, Class War, Plutocracy, Privilege, Quotations, The Workplace
The problem is that this homesteading action is outrageously un-libertarian. It involves a single actor unilaterally deciding to eliminate the previously existing access every other person had to some piece of the world, doing so without the consent of those dispossessed of their access, and through the use of violence (i.e. if you try to access the object they now claim to own, they physically push you off or worse).
Matt Bruenig, "The Nozickian case for Rawls’ difference principle"
Egalitarianism, Homesteading, Initial Acquisition, John Rawls, Matt Bruenig, Non-Aggression, Property Is Coercive, Quotations, Robert Nozick, The Nozickian case for Rawls’ difference principle
That property violates the non-aggression principle is so obviously true that it is amusing anyone ever contends otherwise. The institution of property is the most statist, violent, aggressive, anti-libertarian, big government program in history. Through laws of one sort or another, people are violently restricted from nearly every single piece of the world around them. They do not consent to these restrictions, which are imposed from without, unilaterally and at the barrel of a gun. In the process, every shred of negative liberty and self-ownership is destroyed.
Matt Bruenig, "Salvaging Non-Aggression for Egalitarianism"
Egalitarianism, Matt Bruenig, Non-Aggression, Property Is Coercive, Quotations, Salvaging Non-Aggression for Egalitarianism
Private Property therefore is a Creature of Society, and is subject to the Calls of that Society, whenever its Necessities shall require it, even to its last Farthing; its Contributions therefore to the public Exigencies are not to be considered as conferring a Benefit on the Publick, entitling the Contributors to the Distinctions of Honour and Power, but as the Return of an Obligation previously received, or the Payment of a just Debt.
Benjamin FranklinQueries and Remarks respecting Alterations in the Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1789
Benjamin Franklin, Government Creates Rights, Property, Quotations
All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.
Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin to Robert Morris, 25 Dec. 1783
Benjamin Franklin, Government Creates Rights, Property, Quotations
While it is a moot question whether the origin of any kind of property is derived from Nature at all … it is considered by those who have seriously considered the subject, that no one has, of natural right, a separate property in an acre of land … Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society.
Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson, 13 Aug. 1813
Government Creates Rights, Property, Quotations, Thomas Jefferson
Those who "abjure" violence can only do so because others are committing violence on their behalf.
George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism" May, 1945
Capitalism, Coercion, George Orwell, Government, Notes on Nationalism, Quotations, The Draft
What became increasingly evident to me was that the Austrian equation of preference and action is crude behaviorism. I know by introspection that I have preferences that I fail to act upon. And while I do not have telepathy, it is overwhelmingly probable that the same holds for my fellow human beings. Once you grant this principle, the most distinctive Austrian doctrines crumble.
Bryan Caplan, "Intellectual Autobiography of Bryan Caplan"
Austrian Economics, Bryan Caplan, Intellectual Autobiography of Bryan Caplan, Quotations
I wouldn't confuse conservative libertarianism with a genuine philosophy, open to considering reasoned objections. Bryan Caplan is a libertarian, because that's his job! It is a completely synthetic ideology, deliberately manufactured by a cadre of full-time professionals. And, I don't think their employers intend to make the masses any smarter about the economy or society. In short, libertarians are a product of increasing inequality; of course, they are in favor of increasing inequality, and would prefer that no one draw attention to its deleterious effects; libertarianism is one of increasing inequality's deleterious effects!
Bruce Wilder, "The libertarian solution to inequality"
Bruce Wilder, Ideology, Inequality, Introduction To Libertarianism, Philosophy, Plutocracy, Quotations, The libertarian solution to inequality
The libertarian movement annoys me because I feel like it's sucked up a lot of mental energy, creativity, and idealism that could have been put to better use - like the communist movement did generations earlier. I think it did some good, but it's a maximalist, package-deal ideology, and like all such ideologies it's gone into la-la land. I don't think it's killing the country but I think it's done some damage. So there you go.
Noah Smith, "The libertarian solution to inequality"
Ideology, Noah Smith, Quotations, The libertarian solution to inequality
In reality, the “free market” is a bunch of rules about (1) what can be owned and traded (the genome? slaves? nuclear materials? babies? votes?); (2) on what terms (equal access to the internet? the right to organize unions? corporate monopolies? the length of patent protections? ); (3) under what conditions (poisonous drugs? unsafe foods? deceptive Ponzi schemes? uninsured derivatives? dangerous workplaces?) (4) what’s private and what’s public (police? roads? clean air and clean water? healthcare? good schools? parks and playgrounds?); (5) how to pay for what (taxes, user fees, individual pricing?). And so on.
Robert Reich, "The Myth of the “Free Market” and How to Make the Economy Work for Us"
Capitalism, Markets and Laissez-Faire, Free Market, Institutions, Markets Are Created By Government, Quotations, Robert Reich, The Myth of the “Free Market” and How to Make the Economy Work for Us
Neoliberals in the innermost shell (like the Koch brothers) use libertarians at farther removes (like the Tea Party) not always to realize their agenda directly, but to push political discourse to the hard right.
David Golumbia, "Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left"
Charles and David Koch, Cyberlibertarianism, Cyberlibertarians’ Digital Deletion of the Left, David Golumbia, Kochtopus, Quotations, Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy, Wall Street, Corporatists, Neoliberals And Plutocrats
Thus despite, for example, the dogmatic insistence on “spontaneous order” as the exclusive result of market-based transactions -- transactions that in core neoliberal dogma are said to be the only permissible form of social planning -- the social policies pursued by the MPS [Mont Pelerin Society] and its outer shells [libertarianism, classical liberalism, etc.] are often exquisitely planned, anything but spontaneous, and have nothing to do with any market.
David Golumbia, "Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom’"
Central Planning, Classical Liberal, Cyberlibertarianism: The Extremist Foundations of ‘Digital Freedom’, David Golumbia, Descriptions Of Libertarianism, Freedom Through Technology, Ideology, Liberal Criticisms Of Libertarianism, Neoliberalism, Quotations, Spontaneous Order, Vast, Right-Wing Conspiracy, Wall Street, Corporatists, Neoliberals And Plutocrats

Many entrepreneurs hold the opinion that “I did it all on my own,” which may be well adapted to leadership success in certain situations, but it is objectively myopic. The entrepreneur relies on an ecosystem of venture capitalists, risk-taking purchasers, and so on. This ecosystem itself rests on a deeper foundation of collective, government-led enterprise. The delivery of our software, for example, depended on the existence of the Internet, which is the product of a series of government-sponsored R&D efforts, in combination with subsequent massive private commercial development. Government funding has been essential to much of the university science that entrepreneurs have exploited. Honest courts and police are required for functioning capital markets and protection of assets; physical infrastructure is required for the roads and running water without which we would not spend much time thinking about artificial intelligence software. At the absolute foundation, national armed forces protect the whole system against external aggression. All of our exciting technical and economic innovations ultimately require men to stand watch all night looking through Starlight scopes mounted on assault rifles—and die if necessary—to protect our commercial, law-bound society. Would you do this to protect a billionaire hedge-fund manager who sees his country as nothing more than lines on a map?
Jim Manzi, "Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society"
Earned, Fallacies Of Ideology, Jim Manzi, Quotations, Taxes, Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society
People who think "free markets" work in healthcare or the Internet are just as functionally stupid about economics as the most hardline Communist who thinks that the government should exercise full control of the toothpaste market. Most of the world understands by now that the second guy is a dangerous fool. But we're at a weird point in history where the first guy undeservedly has more credibility. He shouldn't--and he won't for long.
David Atkins, "Americans: we love paying more for less"
Americans: we love paying more for less, Communism, David Atkins, Economics, Free Market, Health Care, Internet, Laissez Faire, Market Failure, Quotations
In its own way, the "No True Libertarianism" argument is very similar to the "No True Communism" of those on the far left, who argue that the fault of Communism lies not with the idea, but with the practice--despite the fact that no successful large-scale Communism has ever been implemented in the world. Neither ideology can fail its adherents. They can only be failed by imperfect practitioners. Both ideologies run counter to human nature for the same reason: power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
David Atkins, "The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy"
Communism, David Atkins, Failures Of Libertarian Philosophy, Fallacies Of Ideology, Institutions, Quotations, The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy, Unclassified Criticisms
Urban street gangs in under-policed neighborhoods, mafias in under-taxed countries, and groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon invariably step in to fill the void where government fails. When the Japanese government wasn't able to adequately help the population after the earthquake and tsunami, the yakuza helpfully stepped in to do it for them. The devolution of local authority and taxation into the hands of criminal groups willing to provide a safety net in exchange for their cut of the action is the invariable pre-feudal result of the breakdown of the government-backed safety net. It happens every single time. The people will want a safety net where utter chaos doesn't prevent it: they'll either get it from an accountable governmental authority, or from a non-governmental authority of shadowy legality. Both kinds of authority will levy their own form of taxation, be it legal and official, or part of an illegal protection scheme.
David Atkins, "The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy"
Anarcho-capitalism, David Atkins, Democracy, Institutions, Privatization, Public Expansions Of Liberty, Quotations, Real World Power, The "No True Libertarianism" fallacy, Things Government Should Do
If the 1 percent are able to extract vast sums from the economy it is because we have structured the economy for this purpose. It could easily be structured differently, but the 1 percent and its defenders aren't interested in changing things.
Dean Baker, "Inequality By Design: It Is Not Just Talent and Hard Work"
Class War, Dean Baker, Inequality, Inequality By Design: It Is Not Just Talent and Hard Work, Quotations

What's New...

Another 96 or so entries.
Sources such as EnoughLibertarianSpam and my usual blog readings are providing plenty of new material.
NEW 9/06/2014: The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
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NEW 9/06/2014: Making Capitalism Fit For Society
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NEW 9/06/2014: Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World
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NEW 9/06/2014: Justice, Gender, And The Family
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NEW 9/06/2014: Markets Are Amoral
Markets are tools, with as much morality in them as hammers. Hammers can build, hammers can kill: so can markets. Libertarians pretend markets and the transactions within them are always moral, but they are not. [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: 25 Horrifying Images of the "Free" Market at Work [More...]
"We simply need to recognize that markets have no implicit moral authority." [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Critical Map of the American Libertarian Movement [More...]
Descriptions of 8 of the most noisy libertarian groups. [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Rothbard revisited [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser rebuts Gerald Casey's defense of Murray Rothbard[more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Rothbard as a philosopher [More...]
Conservative philosopher Edward Feser says: "he seems incapable of producing even a minimally respectable philosophical argument, by which I mean an argument that doesn't commit any obvious fallacies or fail to address certain obvious objections." Ouch! Rothbard's argument for self-ownership is dissected. [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: The many divisions within libertarianism.
Libertarians are united only by a rhetoric of liberty. Socially, philosophically, and economically they have innumerable, unreconcilable divisions. If you ever want to side-track a group of libertarians, raise one of these divisions in discussion. [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Nullification: Unlawful and Unconstitutional [More...]
A short Heritage Foundation Factsheet. There's probably much better out there. [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Nullification, Neo-Confederates, and the Revenge of the old Right [More...]
"Behind the recent surge of nullification bills in state legislatures there is an ongoing battle for the soul of the GOP—and the future of the union itself. The nullification movement’s ideology is rooted in reverence for states’ rights and a theocratic and neo-Confederate interpretation of U.S. history. And Ron Paul, who is often portrayed as a libertarian, is the engine behind the movement." [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Keeping It Real on 'neo-Confederate Libertarians' [More...]
"It's not for me to referee the intramural disputes within the libertarian movement. I'm sure they have no desire for me to try. But the neo-Confederates, the Lew Rockwells and that whole crew are fundamentally about white supremacy and nativism. And the Paul clan has been thick as thieves with those folks forever." [more...]
NEW 9/06/2014: Rand Paul's Confederacy Scandal Is Not an Anomaly -- Libertarianism Papers Over Deep Racism in America [More...]
Libertarianism truly is the velvet glove of a nice-sounding “freedom” policy that covers the iron fist of five hundred years of genocide and apartheid in America. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Libertarian Velikovskyism
Understanding libertarians as like believers in Immanuel Velikovsky's "Worlds in Collision". [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: The worthless Lockean Fable of Initial Acquisition
The ahistorical labor theory of property fails in many ways. Including ignoring the evidence in front of our noses. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Ayn Rand and the VIP-DIPers [More...]
Ayn Rand secretly took Social Security and Medicare. "In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest." [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Poll: 43 Percent Of Libertarians Don’t Understand The Term [More...]
"About 11 percent of Americans self-identify as libertarians and know what the term means" according to a Pew Research Center poll. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: In search of libertarians [More...]
"In some cases, the political views of self-described libertarians differ modestly from those of the general public; in others there are no differences at all [...] None of the seven groups identified by the 2014 political typology closely resembled libertarians, and, in fact, self-described libertarians can be found in all seven." [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology [More...]
The Pew Research Center statistically identifies seven cohesive political clusters. None of them are libertarian. Includes a 23 question placement quiz. A vastly better methodology than the pseudoscientific The Worlds Smallest Political Quiz. 179 pages. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: SourceWatch: Koch Brothers [More...]
The extensive SourceWatch wiki entry on the Koch brothers. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Koch Exposed [More...]
The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: I Was A Teenage Randroid [More...]
"Looking back, I try not to beat myself up about my four lost years as a Randroid[...] Despite the fact that everyday reality contradicts the tenets of Objectivism, Randroids hold Rand’s teachings as the supreme distillation of that reality. Cult leaders couldn’t hope for better." [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Economists Dissing Economics [More...]
A list of 20 or so quotes, mostly from well known economists, criticising mainstream economics. [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Daniel McFadden: Understanding better how people really make choices [More...]
"Some consumers suffer from “agoraphobia” or a fear of markets according to new research presented by Nobel laureate Daniel McFadden that throws doubt on the classical idea that people are driven by relentless and consistent pursuit of self-interest to maximise their well-being." [more...]
NEW 9/05/2014: Why Burning Man is not an example of a loosely regulated tech utopia [More...]
"But Burning Man is intensely regulated. It’s got its own police force. Gun control is absolute. Attendance is limited to a set number of people who can afford the not-cheap tickets. The very layout of Black Rock City is a paean to planning and organization. Central control is as much the essence of Burning Man as is hedonism and fire." [more...]
NEW 9/04/2014: Myth: There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families. [More...]
Perhaps the first important thing to note is that these are semantic games. Society is a "collection of individuals," even formally defined... The belief that humans are autonomous individuals leads to a logical error called the "fallacy of composition." [more...]
NEW 9/04/2014: There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families.
This famous Margaret Thatcher quote is philosophical twaddle. The same principle then applies to government, corporations, religions, etc. It is based on the unscientific and fallacious claim that individuals are the only valid level of analysis, common to the methodological individualism of Austrian Economics[more...]
NEW 9/04/2014: Mont Pelerin Society
An international organization founded by Friedrich von Hayek to promote neoliberalism. Where the Koch brothers found their kindred spirits. One of the many vast, right-wing Conspiracies[more...]
NEW 9/04/2014: Milton Friedman and David Glasner: Real and Pseudo Gold Standards [More...]
David Glasner identifies many flaws in Milton Friedman's paper “Real and Pseudo Gold Standards”. Brad DeLong interprets it as a political peacemaking tool, rather than a real academic paper. [more...]
NEW 9/04/2014: Currency
Libertarians generally complain about "fiat money" (paper money), and divide into gold or bitcoin camps. At this time, gold is simply a commodity: do gold standard libertarians want a government fiat to make it the currency? [more...]
NEW 9/01/2014: Incorrect History [More...]
"Soon enough, however, the Politically Incorrect Guide to American History starts to slip from conventional history into a Bizarro world where every state has the right to disregard any piece of federal legislation it doesn't like or even to secede [...] His source? Mainly the writings of the Southern pro-slavery politician John C. Calhoun." [more...]
NEW 9/01/2014: League of the South
A secessionist, white supremacist and white nationalist organization that wants to recreate the Confederacy. [more...]
NEW 9/01/2014: Thomas Woods
A founding whackaloon of the secessionist League of the South and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He specializes in revisionist history and popularizing Austrian Economics[more...]
Reading Hamilton From the Left [More...]
An excellent overview of how Alexander Hamilton's Federalist, dirigiste vision of state-supported capitalism was the basis for the growth of American capitalism. As opposed to Jefferson's large, patrimonial, slave-owning, agrarian elites who exported primary commodities and imported finished manufactured goods from Europe. [more...]
Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism? [More...]
An anarchist explanation of how anarcho-capitalism interferes with freedom and how capitalism is created by the state. [more...]
What are the myths of capitalist economics? [More...]
An anarchist overview of problems of economics, exploitation, distribution, big business, and false claims of capitalist benefits. [more...]
An Anarchist FAQ Webpage [More...]
A collaborative effort to present the basics of anarchism and correct misrepresentations by opponents (such as libertarians.) Updated and expanded versions of some Spunk Press items. [more...]
Anarcho-Hucksters: There is Nothing Anarchistic about Capitalism [More...]
An anarchist explains why anarcho-capitalism is not truly anarchist, and is generally undesirable to most people. [more...]
Living in a Second-Best World [More...]
An introduction to why deregulation and competition may not create their intended benefits, due to the Theory Of The Second Best[more...]
Archimedes Shrugged: The Great Libertarian Racket
Hugh Akston's 2001 critical review of the Libertarian Party, emphasizing the capture of the party for personal profit by a Harry Browne clique. Scathing. [more...]
A Is A
Also known as the law of identity, is a worthless piece of philosophical drivel that plainly doesn't apply to the real world and seems to be unnecessary in mathematics. Objectivists use it as a shibboleth[more...]
The New Jargon [More...]
Phil Agre discusses the rhetorical technology of association and projection used to subvert rationality in political argument. [more...]
Thoughts on the Florida Recount [More...]
Phil Agre discusses the common patterns of conservative propaganda employed in the Florida Recounts. These are very commonly encountered interacting with libertarians, especially projection. [more...]
The Crisis of Public Reason [More...]
Phil Agre provides one of the most compact insights into modern public discourse ever written. And wallops Hayek in the process. [more...]
Critics of Austrian Economics [More...]
An index of books and articles criticizing Austrian Economics. [more...]
AFT School Vouchers index [More...]
The American Federation Of Teachers has good summaries of the issues surrounding vouchers. [more...]
Milton Friedman: a study in failure [More...]
Milton Friedman's most successful influence in government policy was one he regretted: creating the income withholding tax. [more...]
Varieties of Institutional Failure [More...]
James Acheson describes failures of resource management by markets, private property, government, and communal management. Libertarian emphasis on the first two only is inappropriate. [more...]
Liberty, License or Anarchy? The Seductive Lie of Libertarianism [More...]
"I don't want to live in a "libertarian" society any more than I want to live in a society based upon absolute bondage imposed by an all-powerful government. Conservatives must seek - and actively work for -- a rational middle ground in which liberty is ensured within the framework of republican ideals, traditional societal norms and self-restraint." [more...]
The Myths of Social Security Crisis: Behind the Privatization Push [More...]
"Privatization of Social Security would not make the elderly and disabled go away. But it will end a system that requires high earners to help out low earners without forcing low earners to undergo the stigma of welfare." [more...]
Social Security Reform: Henry Aaron [More...]
Henry Aaron's 1998 testimony to the US Senate on why Social Security privatization proposals would be bad policy. [more...]
This is such a big heap of partisan right-wing bullshit that there must be a pony in there somewhere! [More...]
Daniel Davies explains to Brad DeLong that Milton Friedman was a political hack (in addition to being an excellent economist.) "The ideological core of Chicago-style libertarianism has two planks. 1. Vote Republican. 2. That's it." [more...]
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
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Paying the Tab: The Costs and Benefits of Alcohol Control
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Rival Views of Market Society and Other Recent Essays
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Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming
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The Con Artistry of Charter Schools [More...]
Criminality, failure, self-dealing, misuse of funds, lack of oversight, political corruption, a trend to big business, and the political interference of ALEC have brought about a spate of FBI investigations of charter schools. [more...]
Two Treatises on Government
One of the major parents of early liberalism. The "mixing of labor to make property" claim comes from here. [more...]
John Locke Says Everything Belongs to Everyone [More...]
Locke straightforwardly claims that the poor have a right to the surplus property of the rich when they are in need. [more...]
Making Sense of Friedrich A. von Hayek [More...]
One of Brad DeLong's attempts to understand Hayek. "My hypothesis is that the explanation is theology: For Hayek, the market could never fail. For Hayek, the market could only be failed. And the only way it could be failed was if its apostles were not pure enough." [more...]
Inequality Is a Drag [More...]
"But American inequality has become so extreme that it’s inflicting a lot of economic damage. And this, in turn, implies that redistribution -- that is, taxing the rich and helping the poor -- may well raise, not lower, the economy’s growth rate." [more...]
A Basic Income for All [More...]
If you really care about freedom, give people an unconditional income. By Philippe Van Parijs, the major proponent of Basic Income[more...]
Libertarianism: Finding a new Path [More...]
David Brin lambastes libertarians for a wide variety of ideological and moral failures: a collection of roughly a dozen articles. [more...]
Hayek, Friedman, and the Illusions of Conservative Economics [More...]
Robert Solow's review of "The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression" By Angus Burgin. His view of the Mont Pelerin Society's transition from the leadership of Friedrich von Hayek to Milton Friedman[more...]
Efficiency, inequality, and the costs of redistribution [More...]
"Under the Kaldor-Hicks principle an outcome is efficient if the winners could compensate the losers. They don’t actually have to do it for the new outcome to qualify as efficient. So the winners of newly opened markets don’t have to compensate the workers who have lost jobs." [more...]
Phosphorus and Freedom: The Libertarian Fantasy [More...]
Is libertarian economics at all realistic? The answer is no. And the reason can be summed up in one word: phosphorus. [more...]
While libertarians may claim they are opposed to pollution, their solutions (self-regulation, torts, etc.) are ineffective in the real world. Regulation is necessary to preserve the environmental commons. [more...]
How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide [More...]
Notorious commie group Standard & Poor’s says inequality hurting economic growth. "The challenge now is to find a path toward more sustainable growth, an essential part of which, in our view, is pulling more Americans out of poverty and bolstering the purchasing power of the middle class." [more...]
Why the 'Libertarian Moment' Isn't Really Happening [More...]
"Young voters are not libertarian, nor even trending libertarian. Neither, for that matter, are older voters. The "libertarian moment" is not an event in American culture. It's a phase in internal Republican Party factionalism." [more...]
It Matters How Rich the Rich Are [More...]
"[...] the poor can be made not-poor by reducing the wealth/income of the rich in order to increase the wealth/income of the poor. In that sense, then, the richness of the rich is a cause of the poorness of the poor." [more...]
ALEC Free Markets Myth Debunked, But ALEC Won't Comment [More...]
Asked on camera to explain how ALEC's work against clean energy incentives while ignoring fossil fuel subsidies fits its "free markets" mission, ALEC had "no comment" for Greenpeace. [more...]
Yet Another Note on Mont Pelerin: Thinking Some More About Bob Solow’s View… [More...]
Brad DeLong sees a good Hayek, a bad Hayek, and a political economy Hayek. The three are inconsistent. He (citing Solow) compares their faults to those of Milton Friedman. [more...]
Asbestos Pushed in Asia as Product for the Poor [More...]
"A largely outlawed scourge to the developed world, it is still going strong in the developing one, and killing tens of thousands of people each year." [more...]
The Asbestos Industry
The asbestos industry suppressed information about the hazards of asbestos for decades, and has subsequently been facing enormous lawsuits over many thousands of deaths. All the while fighting regulation worldwide. [more...]
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens [More...]
A hugely important study showing that: "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence." [more...]
Scholar Behind Viral 'Oligarchy' Study Tells You What It Means [More...]
"A new political science study that's gone viral finds that majority-rule democracy exists only in theory in the United States -- not so much in practice." [more...]
Lucky Duckies and Fortunate Sons [More...]
On poverty and right wing reactions: "[...] the way people tend to react to a rigged game -- discouragement or selective blindness --are pretty common sense, yet are vociferously denied nonetheless by significant segments in the United States." [more...]
The Three Axioms at the Heart of Neoclassical Economics [More...]
"All in all, the three axioms that form the basis of neoclassical economics cannot be taken seriously." [more...]
No, it isn't only libertarians who care about civil liberties [More...]
"The fact is that civil liberties are rarely a priority in either political party. The libertarians in America tend to gather in the GOP while the civil libertarians like me tend to vote Democratic. We're a minority either way, but the civil libertarian liberals outnumber the libertarians substantially. " [more...]
The Basic Income Guarantee and Tautological Libertarianism [More...]
"Of course, right-libertarians tell us that they defend property rights because they believe in freedom. Now we see that they’re simply defining freedom as the defense of the property rights system they want to see." [more...]
Do People Really Dislike the State So Much? [More...]
A reversal of one point of "Seeing like a State": "Rather than fleeing from the state and resisting it, ordinary people are demanding the expansion of its authority in order to attain freedom from arbitrary and coercive local elites." [more...]
It isn’t your money [More...]
It might be your money if you lived under other institutions, rather than those of a taxing nation. But you don't. [more...]
Why We Fight Wars [More...]
Paul Krugman: "If you’re a modern, wealthy nation, however, war — even easy, victorious war — doesn’t pay. And this has been true for a long time." Except some profit in the military-industrial complex. [more...]
War Is Bad
Libertarians like to pretend that only they oppose war and that they oppose all war. Almost all people oppose war, and everybody has a point at which they will engage in war, even if only for defense. [more...]
Why Blacks Aren't Libertarians [More...]
"As long as leaving America’s most vulnerable unprotected remains a core piece of libertarianism, it is unlikely that the libertarian movement will find many allies in communities of color."[more...]
The Underachieving Education Business [More...]
Cries for market competition to improve education are false promises. "In the United States, for-profit universities have a six-year graduation rate of 22%, far below the 60% achieved by not-for-profit institutions." An ineffective self-regulation proposal is made. [more...]
Voluntary slavery (Wikipedia) [More...]
"In ancient times, this was a common way for impoverished people to provide subsistence for themselves or their family and provision was made for this in law." [more...]
Some problems with this traditionalist stuff [More...]
"The traditionalist has a formula. They write on a three-by-five card “defer to the status quo norms and traditions.” Then they also secretly scribble on the back “except when doing so conflicts with laissez-faire capitalism.” But we can leave that last part aside." [more...]
The Disease of American Democracy [More...]
An overview of why Americans have no influence over their government compared to the rich and corporations. "We have to establish a new countervailing power." [more...]
Bad Role Models: The Embattled Arrival of Honduras' Model Cities [More...]
"[...] ZEDEs seem likely to benefit only Honduras’ existing economic and political elites and foreign investors. The laws allowing ZEDEs have been designed to give their investors maximal legal and financial protection, leaving residents with only minimal legal recourse and democratic rights." [more...]
Reclaiming the Politics of Freedom [More...]
"[The politics of freedom] views the state the way the abolitionist, the trade unionist, the civil rights activist and the feminist do: as an instrument for disrupting the private life of power. The state, in other words, is the right hand to the left hand of social movement." [more...]
Say What? Israel Just Outlawed Water Fluoridation [More...]
"The terrifying logic follows that this disturbing pattern (like many libertarian ideologies) trumps all logic and sound medical advice; the way things are going, mandatory vaccination could be next on the cutting block." [more...]
No, America Is Not Turning Libertarian [More...]
"Advocacy organizations routinely sponsor polls that show the public supportive of their own position. Reason is the only magazine I know of that uses this tactic..." [more...]
Libertarianism is growing!
Nope. Koch-sponsored plutocratic control of government, media and other institutions is increasing, but that is not libertarianism. The number of people with libertarian leanings has remained constant for decades, and the Libertarian Party has long been in decline. [more...]
The Real Problem with the Broken Window Fallacy [More...]
"The BWF may or may not be useful for demonstrating a certain point, but it is not a model of the economy and it is not always and everywhere applicable to economic problems."