Lion of the Blogosphere

Guide to libertarian economics part 1: the Free Market

There is no single authoritative document, like the Bible or the Constitution, which explains libertarian economics. Rather it’s a synthesis of what conservative libertarian types (libertarianists) are currently saying about economics. Libertarian economics is an evolving concept, and what someone said about it fifty or a hundred years ago is not necessarily relevant to the current understanding of it. Because it’s a concept and a religion rather than a real science, detailed technical knowledge of economics isn’t necessary for one to be a True Believer.

THE FREE MARKET

The thing most venerated in libertarian economics is the “free market,” much like the cow is venerated by Hindus. Hindus believe that the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence, and that is how libertarianists view the “free market.”

But despite the libertarianist worship of the “free market,” it’s not actually defined very clearly. When libertarianists talk about the “free market,” they simultaneously mean a market that is not regulated by the government, and the belief that in the absence of government regulation, prices will be set by supply and demand and by competition, and “economic growth” will be much greater than in a regulated economy. Just as Satan is the embodiment of evil to Christians, government regulation (including taxes which are an especially hated subset of government regulation) are the embodiment of evil to libertarianists. And just as Heaven is the reward for being a good Christian, “economic growth” is the reward for being a good libertarian.

There is no scientific proof that all government regulations are bad, or that we would all be better off without government regulation. It’s accepted by libertarianists as a matter of faith, just as Christians accept the divinity of Jesus as a matter of faith. In fact, I strongly disagree that competition is the natural result of the absence of government regulation, especially in the modern economy which is based on mass marketing and intellectual property. It should be noted that the entire field of economics is heavily based around the study of the economy of the 18th century, an economy which no longer exists.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

October 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

64 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I think you’ll get a lot of pushback on this one, but I’ll just make one comment. Adam Smith, the most venerated saint of the libertarians, would agree with you that competition is not the natural result of the absence of government regulation. He said that the first thing capitalists do when they get together is try to limit completion and raise prices. I’m sure that the two richest men in the world, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, would agree. The feeling nowadays across the political spectrum seems to be not that regulations and taxes are unnecessary but that they are heavily tilted to favor the chosen few who heavily subsidize the political process.

    Black Death

    October 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    • The blame lays entirely on the average consumer, who patronizes big businesses, that usually offer subpar products or services.

      JS

      October 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      • Economy of scale usually means the prices are cheaper. Economics is not science.

        cesqy

        October 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      • “Economy of scale usually means the prices are cheaper.”

        Actually the time price rises. So does the price of all the legitimate land.

        let's believe in miracles

        October 7, 2015 at 6:49 pm

  2. The great mistake that the libertarians make is to assume that the free market exists, or ever could. Or, to put it another way, I trust capitalism, contradictions and all. Capitalists? No. No. A million times, no.

    Jesse

    October 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    • Jesse, you’re saying a government regulation made you write that?

      Rob

      October 7, 2015 at 5:11 pm

  3. Suggest anyone interested in sledgehammering “libertarianists” on their economic lunacies read Mancur (pronounced “mansir”) Olson’s book “The Rise and Decline of Nations.” The TL;DR is: groups (special interests) SPONTANEOUSLY and INEVITABLY form and organize themselves to secure benefits for their members with little or no regard for any consequent negative effects on society. The more stable and long-lived the society, the more entrenched such groups become, and the stronger their strangleholds on various sectors of the economy (think professional associations and credentialing.)

    Arthur Willingham, Jr.

    October 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

  4. Mass marketing would be less necessary in a truly unregulated economy, because businesses wouldn’t have to compete with each other. They would just collude.

    Dave Pinsen

    October 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

  5. Without intellectual property laws it would be harder for conspiring capitalists to prevent competition. In the absence of the state there would probably still be common law over things like murder, etc, but almost certainly not IP law. It would be hard to enforce.

    As far as libertarians holding the free market as a guiding moral value, like a religious creed, that is inaccurate. Libertarians hold consent as their (only) guiding moral value. Taxes and gov’t regulations are not consensual, hence the opposition to those. Prostitution, gambling, and drug use are consensual, hence the support.

    I understand that libertarian intellectuals often talk about the efficiency of free markets, but for the libertarians I have met (including me) there is not a utilitarian, economic argument for their ideals. There is a philosophical one, which is consent.

    Lowe

    October 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    • Providing for patents is one of the few government functions that is actually written into the US Constitution. The monopoly is temporary, is granted narrowly to the invention and the inventor, and often actually protects the little guy against the big guy.

      Invention is one of the few areas where human progress continues to be real and substantive. In many other areas we have obviously been regressing.

      Yet one more example where libertarian logic gives a completely wrong solution. As if more examples were needed. Open the borders, empty the prisons, and celebrate every hedonistic vice from drugs to prostitution and utopia will surely be achieved. If most young conservatives are actually libertarians then surely we are doomed.

      Dan

      October 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      • @ Dan

        Whether it is in the Constitution is immaterial. IP may sometimes protects the little guy, but it sometimes does not. However it is naive to think that that laws and regulations are written to the disadvantage of the large companies which are their de facto authors.

        As far as you/us being doomed, whatever. I did not talk about borders or prisons, though that is what you may want to talk about.

        Lowe

        October 7, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    • Intellectual property law? That would the least of your problems in “the absence of a state.”

      You’d think that libertarians, being the aspergic nerds that everyone bullied on the playground, would be more clued in to human nature and the dynamics of power.

      Melian Dialogue

      October 7, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      • I didn’t say that the lack of IP laws would be a problem. Actually I was painting it as a positive. I guess you were looking for an opportunity to write something witty, though.

        Mission accomplished. Anyone reading can now see you write glowingly about kids being bullied on a playground.

        Lowe

        October 7, 2015 at 9:41 pm

  6. The “free market,” to libertarians is just a set of assumptions that are a part of economic models. These set of base assumptions are useful, because it’s possible to judge actual policies and actual results against the model.

    To a libertarian, “Free market” policies are generally desirable because “free market” results outpace results from heavy regulation.

    The problem with libertarian “Free market policies,” is that one of the most important assumptions in all free market models of the economy is: that the society is high trust, with a moral foundation and a rule of law. Adam Smith, author of a Theory of Moral Sentiments, knew this: there is no free market without a strong shared set of generally agreed morals.

    But,

    Libertarians just assume a high trust society exists. And since it just exists, then all policies or morals dedicated to maintaining the high trust and moral foundation of the society are just economic loss in their model.

    But a high trust society doesn’t just exist. It doesn’t exist in 5/6th of the world today, and it certainly didn’t just exist in the nasty brutish and short 3.5 million years of pre civilization human existence. A high trust society is something that had to be created with work, and has to be maintained.

    And this is very important, because libertarian concepts require high trust (morality) to make sense. Example, Most economic models are based on debt, but debt is just a moral obligation of one to repay another. Without the morality associated with honoring debt, the whole model including debt just falls apart.

    And so libertarian policies that actually undermine trust, like importing a bunch of sharia adherents to overrun society, don’t show up in the model as being wrong for economic activity, even while very real costs are being imposed on society.

    Rotten

    October 7, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    • Good comment.

      Glengarry

      October 7, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    • Rotten,

      “The problem with libertarian “Free market policies,” is that one of the most important assumptions in all free market models of the economy is: that the society is high trust, with a moral foundation and a rule of law. Adam Smith, author of a Theory of Moral Sentiments, knew this: there is no free market without a strong shared set of generally agreed morals.”

      Actually, this is not true. Libertarians are well aware of the low morals of people and they construct a system that does not require anyone to be a saint. As Adam Smith wrote, ” It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Compared to communists, libertarians are far more practical and less damaging.

      map

      October 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      • In my experience, they talk about this a lot but it never makes its way into the models & thus into the social recommendations.

        Ask somebody like Bryan Caplan about trust and social capital and you’ll get a filibuster.

        Rotten

        October 8, 2015 at 1:03 am

    • Rotten, you’re wrong. The first thing Libertarians talk about is the Libertarian pledge (in some variation such as the NAP) as re-establishing social trust and getting people re-thinking law towards rights and fair play.

      That’s why we’re even discussing them.

      I don’t know any libertarian trying to import sharia. If anything, they’re tearing the Islamic Conference apart limb-from-limb spreading democracy and rights philosophies.

      Rob

      October 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      • “I don’t know any libertarian trying to import sharia.”

        If libertarians undermine our immigration laws, then that is exactly what they are doing. Leftists are at least aware enough to know they are trying to wreak the country… that is kind of the point. Libertarians are too Aspergery to realize it.

        Dan

        October 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    • “Libertarians just assume a high trust society exists.”

      High levels of societal trust between unrelated strangers is required for libertarianism to work.You also need a population with higher than average intelligence and a higher than average work ethic. Those conditions haven’t existed in our country since Grover Cleveland’s presidency, if not before.

      Sgt. Joe Friday

      October 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

  7. Obama certainly learned in history how monopolists such as standard oil and ma bell had to be broken up to encourage competition. But he is too stupid to draw a connection between them and companies like Google and Facebook that he loves to hobnob with. Google spent more than any other company on lobbying. Facebook has a giant 210 billion market cap and yet employs only 10,000 people.

    There is a new thing in the marketplace, the network monopoly. This is an Internet company (Facebook, Google, Ebay, Amazon) where one company is destined to dominate the space because everyone flocks to the company with the largest network, reinforcing their power. I think Microsoft actually pioneered this kind of monopoly with Windows, since the value of an operating system depends on how many other people use it. In each of these examples, nobody else is close in the space that these companies occupy, even though what they do is totally doable. (Google is a network monopoly because advertisers flock to the biggest player, reinforcing their position).

    What can be done about network monopolies? Honest question, what do people think?

    Dan

    October 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    • Obama isn’t stupid – he understands the new quasi-monopolies very well. But he doesn’t care about how they operate to the detriment of the average consumer, because the people who run them tend to be his supporters. Case closed.

      Black Death

      October 7, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    • Dan,

      “What can be done about network monopolies? Honest question, what do people think?”

      The easiest way to regulate a network monopoly is to regulate it like a public utility. In the good old days of the “good faith” market era, I would have questioned the wisdom of treating every large business as some kind of public utility. Given the abuses of Google, Facebook and even Microsoft, I am willing to overlook that consideration.

      map

      October 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    • USA Today, 10/05/15 –
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2015/10/05/alphabet-stock-google-googl/73385362/

      Shares of online advertising company Google are now trading by the name Alphabet starting today. The name change is part of a plan announced months ago to restructure the company to give more room to its nascent businesses while consolidating the massive cash flow of its legacy online search business…

      Fortune, 08/11/15 –

      http://fortune.com/2015/08/11/google-alphabet-name-change/

      …The parent brand, Alphabet, will own a number of different brands, including Google, Android and You Tube. Alphabet apparently won’t be a consumer-facing brand; it will be the corporate parent…

      E. Rekshun

      October 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    • …Ebay…

      I’ve never bought anything off ebay, but I’m thinking about buying a car I see advertised on ebay. I talked to the seller today – it’s a used car dealership 150 miles from me. So, I may end up just driving to the dealer this weekend and buying the car in person if it looks as good as it does on ebay. Though last weekend I was the victim of a “bait & switch” by a large dealer, also 150 miles away, on a car advertised on cars.com. I talked to the dealer several times before making the drive and during the drive, but when I got there it was, “oh, the car sold this morning to a buyer in California, but you’re gonna love this cream puff over here…” After a few choice words, I turned around and drove the 150 miles home; then posted a bunch of horrible reviews.

      E. Rekshun

      October 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      • You can get refrigerant or Turbo Tax realy cheap on eBay, but for buying a car the best thing is to go to an auction with a dealer. You pay a few hundred dollars, like $250-300, if you buy a car and if not, you drive one of the cars that he buys back to the city to make it worth his while taking you alone. I bought all my cars this way. You have to have a dealer that you can trust to help you chose the right car, though. This is how immigrants do it, I’m not sure if this method is popular with real Americans. Low trust immigrants don’t trust dealers and go with them to auctions to chose their cars, but polite and friendly Americans might feel embarrassed even to suggest this to a dealer and pay much more. An immigrant dealer is happy to make a $250 by taking a chap to an auction, but for a supposedly high trust American dealer it may not pay to bother. Just do it the immigrant way and save yourself money and never trust a used car salesman immigrant or not.

        Yakov

        October 7, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    • The question about network monopolies is a good one. What you are describing is a natural monopoly, of which railroads are a good example. Companies with natural monopolies can be privately owned, but you have a situation where having competing companies is impractical.

      As the example of railroads indicates, what you do with natural monopolies is either to nationalize them or to closely regulate them. For the internet companies you mentioned, the solution would be to regulate them like privately owned utilities are regulated.

      Ed

      October 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

  8. “Human Action” by Ludwig Von Mises is considered the primary work on Austrian economics.

    njguy73

    October 7, 2015 at 1:49 pm

  9. Good point about lack of regulation leading to the formation of monopolies. I am more concerned about government tampering in the social arena, hiring, interfering with personal liberties and collecting massive databases on US citizens, being harassed at the border when trying to re-enter as a US citizen as a deterrent to international travel, and so on.

    I hope you’re not trying to equate economic libertarianism with libertarianism in general, because there’s a lot more to it than that. I could give a f*** about economics.

    shiva1008

    October 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    • D’oh, just saw the title again. Anyway, a lot of people do conflate these two things, as if refutations of “libertarian economic principles” somehow show that there is no need to drastically downsize government.

      shiva1008

      October 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

  10. good stuff, lion. i see book potential here too.

    rivelino

    October 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    • I have commented a few times about how I would buy any ebook Lion comes out with. I still have hope he’ll write one.

      Ava Lon

      October 7, 2015 at 10:36 pm

  11. The fundamental principle of wS economics is “credit where credit it due.” Any economic system that deviates from this simple principle is bound to a state of anti-Capitalism.

    thordaddy

    October 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

  12. I think libertarianism offers a good framework in the live & let live sense. In that regard their worldview is superior to others. Libertarians also have an optimistic PoV of an ever – improving world, backed up by lots of data.

    However, I part ways when they preach selfedeating immigration policies. Libertarians are usually clueless on HBD in general. Not all, but many are.

    maciano

    October 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm

  13. The best expositions of libertarianism come from either Friedrich Hayek or Ludwig Von Mises, with Hayek being better and more digestible.

    So, a “free market” means freedom of entry and exit into a trade where the only condition you have to meet is the opinion of a customer. Your business rises and falls on how well you happen to serve those individuals who know and appreciate what you have to sell.

    The move away from a free market is where other interests need to be satisfied before a single customer goes through the door.

    I’ll give you a good example in the restaurant business.

    Let’s say you want to buy shelving to store dried and canned goods. I can go to a chemical supply company, buy shelving designed to hold 35-gallon drums, and pay about $80. This means that I have roughly a 6′ x 6′ stainless steel frame that can confidently hold several hundred pounds of items for a very reasonable cost.

    Well, the regs say I can’t use that. Instead, I have to buy certified shelving listed by the National Sanitation Foundation. Cost? $1,000 for a 6′ x 6′ frame.

    There is another regulation where I have to install a separate sink for washing my hands right next to the sink that I use to wash the dishes.

    This is how all regulations operate in the restaurant business. In fact, there is not a single regulation that will prevent you from getting sick due to mishandled food. Almost every regulation is just designed to increase the cost of opening a restaurant.

    The major lobbying group that petitions the state for regs is staffed by executives from a large chain restaurant group.

    This is how the regulatory environment operates in the real world. The purported benefits of regulation are just there to hide from the rubes what the regulations are really designed to do.

    map

    October 7, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    • Exactly. Lion likes to compare free markets in the real world (works pretty well. best system known.) to markets idealized regulation. In my industries, I see the same BS. For example, being required to install fireproof glass in a one story doctors office, with an increase in cost of 20,000 for a 400,000 structure. That is a five percent increase in cost for just one useless regulation.

      hmm

      October 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      • “For example, being required to install fireproof glass in a one story doctors office, with an increase in cost of 20,000 for a 400,000 structure. That is a five percent increase in cost for just one useless regulation.”

        There are good regulations and bad regulations. We need a government whose mission is to make life easier for the people.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        October 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      • Government will always lead to parasitism.

        map

        October 8, 2015 at 1:41 am

      • Exactly. Lion likes to compare free markets in the real world (works pretty well. best system known.) to markets idealized regulation.

        Then why don’t you compare it to before building regulations when you had people not only choosing the cheaper more dangerous option when they could have built it more safely but also building things incorrectly out of total ignorance because they were totally unaware of the proper way to build something.

        Here are two really really fun and informative one hour documentaries related to the issue:

        Lloyd Llewellyn

        October 8, 2015 at 7:57 am

    • In fact, there is not a single regulation that will prevent you from getting sick due to mishandled food.

      Lion you should just do a post collecting all these insane quotes from your commentors. That way no one can accuse you of straw manning.

      Lloyd Llewellyn

      October 8, 2015 at 7:53 am

  14. Lion, a Libertarian approach=easier federal to personal choice of many economic/social systems (including their ideal Libertarian eco-villages), that’s what you’re missing. This is the working document you’re looking for http://www.libertarianinternational.org/apps/blog/show/43134087-forget-capitalism-communism-mondragon-growing-libertarian-smile-economy …I’ve seen versions since maybe 1970. I would look at the rest of the site for examples of what they mean. Maybe Star Trek.

    Since I’m digesting dinner and drinking a nice beer here in Beijing, and there’re a few smart cookies here, I’ll type more on this than I probably should.

    Many people like you get confused because Libertarians go after shibboleths on free-markets/capitalism. Think tanks and the libertarian-direction http://www.lp.org is presently emphasizing them, so they assume that’s what Libertarianism is. But they also emphasize voluntary communism. They like Amish economics. That was actually their main focus in the 1970’s which is why IMHO we have so many condos today and the coercive communist regimes fell. Libertarians think people should be educated on all systems. Why? So they can apply them on a personal, local or federal basis of choice to serve the person/household. It’s all part of their educational effort. They’re about process. They’re about pure examples of all systems and no single one gets to dominate or tell a household what to do.

    My read is that economics for Libertarians=conscious and proactive. They do think societies/economies as a whole can have centuries-long voluntary goals. This is IMHO already driven by Libertarians which they call SMILE. What most people call communism or capitalism are just optional tools Libertarians think most people don’t even really understand. They also recognize that legalizing Libertarian homes/communities will tacitly end coerced regulatory power. I would say a purely Libertarian economics applies to a Libertarian household or village run by Libertarians. They also use ‘free exchange’ as a consequence of Natural Right, which may lead to free markets but may not. They don’t even use ‘government’ (except in the strict sense of rules for military/public officers) in their approach. Saying Libertarians are against regulation by government and venerate free markets is like trying to understand atheists are either Protestant or Catholic. They intend to make it so people can replace Liberal Arts and governments and economies with Libertarianism. Or at least have improved choice.

    They reject ‘mechanistic economics’ out-of-hand. This is including much of Marx, Smith, Rothbard and Mises as the societies they describe have no L/libertarians. Rothbard (Mises golden-boy) himself told me that with the spread of Libertarians much of his work was becoming obsolete.

    SMILE!

    Rob

    October 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    • “This is the working document you’re looking for”

      Nope. That represents your views. It doesn’t represent most libertarians.

      destructure

      October 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm

  15. BTW, Lion, thanks for explaining your understanding of the subject. Appreciated!

    Rob

    October 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm

  16. “There is no scientific proof that all government regulations are bad, or that we would all be better off without government regulation. It’s accepted by libertarianists as a matter of faith, just as Christians accept the divinity of Jesus as a matter of faith.”

    It’s certainly no dumber than a “religion” whose sacred text preaches “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.”

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    October 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

  17. Leon would have people believe libertarian is a “religion” whereas socialism is just good, common sense. That’s because he’s kind of a pinko. But since he made the comparison I’ll run with it. The two commandments that explain the difference between a libertarian and socialist the best are ‘thou shall not steal’ and ‘thou shall not covet’. Libertarians aren’t jealous of others and don’t seek to forcibly deprive them of their property. Socialists do. In fact, jealousy and stealing is the basis of socialism. Very clever psychopaths prey on this jealousy and naivete to gain power.

    The “free market” simply means the voluntary exchange of goods and services as opposed to coercion whether that coercion comes from government, corporations, unions, cartels or warlords. Nothing more and nothing less. Real world examples (East vs West Germany, North vs South Korea, Soviet Union vs Western Europe and America and, of course, Somalia vs pretty much everywhere else) show that governments who respect and protect private property provide a higher standard of living as they give people incentives to maximize their productivity and the freedom to do so.

    Of course, the free market can be tweaked. For example, it might be possible to optimize economic growth through government support of education or infrastructure i.e. roads, bridges, utilities, etc. The problem is that once the government has the authority, special interests will exploit it to benefit themselves at public expense. That’s precisely the problem now. Socialists see this as proof of “evil” corporations and billionaires corrupting a pure, innocent government that only wants to do what’s best for the people. I couldn’t help grinning while typing that last sentence. 🙂

    Don’t be fooled by either corporate shills or socialists who frame the issue as corporations vs government. Liberals may be on the side of big government but libertarians are not on the side of corporations. Libertarians don’t even see it as an issue of corporations vs government but an issue of big corporations and big government working together to exploit the public. Libertarians are not fundamentally for or against either government or corporations. They’re against the abuse of government by special interests.

    There are, however, areas in which the free market runs up against limitations such as sovereignty, natonal interests, etc. For example, special interests desperately want free trade and unrestricted immigration even though it harms the economy and drives wages down. Special interests would push free trade and unrestricted immigration until the country became an overpopulated third world slum. Clearly that’s unsustainable and not in our interest. Most libertarians would agree which is precisely why libertarian is not a “belief”.

    Of course, corporate shills will argue that protectionism, tariffs, etc violate free market principles. But the common sense of ‘taking ones own side’ is why free markets should be limited to a closed system as opposed to an open system. In other words, a free market should exist within the country but trade restrictions, tariffs, borders, etc should still exist between our country and others when it’s in our national interest. Individuals pursue their own interests when dealing with others. There’s no reason why nations shouldn’t as well.

    destructure

    October 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    • The “free market” simply means the voluntary exchange of goods and services as opposed to coercion whether that coercion comes from government, corporations, unions, cartels or warlords.
      Libertarians support coercion all the time, mainly, they support a mandatory system of private property policed by the state, or some equivalent organization. I support private property rights, too, but there’s no sense in calling market capitalism voluntary; because it’s not.

      Very often, I see a meme on the internet describing librtarians as “Diligently plotting to take over the World and leave you alone.” But reallywhat libertarians want to do is foist their idiosncratic utopian schemes on us all. Libertarians would like to strike a whole load of laws off the books, eliminate all social safety net programs, and increase the role of property rights in social life to the near exclusion of all else. They promise everything would be better I we just did things their way. In their own way, they’re not much different from communists/socialists, but much less dangerous to harbor in society, because they’re too wrapped up in their fantasies to be concerned with seizing power in revolutions, and also, because they only exist in countries that are pretty well functioning to begin with, they have very limited appeal.

      corporate shills will argue that protectionism, tariffs, etc violate free market principles. But the common sense of ‘taking ones own side’ is why free markets should be limited to a closed system as opposed to an open system. In other words, a free market should exist within the country but trade restrictions, tariffs, borders, etc should still exist between our country and others when it’s in our national interest.
      Virtually all prominent libertarians disagree. You must not really be a libertarian at all.

      another commenter

      October 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      • “Very often, I see a meme on the internet describing librtarians as “Diligently plotting to take over the World and leave you alone.” But reallywhat libertarians want to do is foist their idiosncratic utopian schemes on us all. Libertarians would like to strike a whole load of laws off the books, eliminate all social safety net programs, and increase the role of property rights in social life to the near exclusion of all else.”

        Libertarians don’t want to foist anything on anyone. They just want to get rid of all “utopian schemes” that have been foisted on them by others. Personally, I’m fine with social safety nets. Orphans, widows, cripples and retards should be taken care of. But people with 4 illegitimate kids shouldn’t be living a middle class lifestyle on my dime.

        “Virtually all prominent libertarians disagree. You must not really be a libertarian at all.”

        No true Scotsman eh?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_perspectives_on_immigration#Opponents_of_mass_immigration_within_the_libertarian_movement

        ***
        I’m going to go out on a limb and say you’re that “libertarian” hippy, Rob, who thinks libertarian is about social justice and environmentalism. Have the stones to post under your regular name

        destructure

        October 7, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      • Destructure, maybe you think it takes “stones” to post comments on the lion’s blog under a consistent pseudonym, but I don’t. To my knowledge, I have only posted a few comments here, mostly under this handle. Lion recently voiced his disapproval of posting under multiple names. I’ll stick with this one from now on. If you want to ban me from commenting, I suggest you send Lion a gift card. I never posted as “hippie rob” or whomever you refer to.

        “Personally, I’m fine with social safety nets. Orphans, widows, cripples and retards should be taken care of…“

        It really seems like you’re just not very familiar with libertarian rhetoric or ideology.

        “Libertarians don’t want to foist anything on anyone. They just want to get rid of all “utopian schemes” that have been foisted on them by others”

        It’s pointless arguing with you about libertarianism, since you don’t know much about it. Libertarians have a very specific set of laws and policies that they have advocated consistently, for many decades now. You don’t seem to share their preferences, in general. That’s a fine thing and it shows good judgement on your part, but why associate with them rhetorically?

        “No true Scotsman eh?”
        I said you’re not a libertarian because you support “protectionism, tariffs, etc.” Your link concerning libertarian attitudes towards immigration is irrelevant. I’m starting to wonder if you know what those terms even mean. If you want to prove me wrong, just link to an article in which a prominent libertarian advocates tariffs, protectionism, or similar policy for any nation in the world, at any time in human history.

        -nothippierob

        another commenter

        October 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      • “It’s pointless arguing with you about libertarianism, since you don’t know much about it. “

        It’s pointless because you don’t have a valid argument. You’re essentially arguing that one can’t be libertarian if they’re inconsistent with “prominent libertarian advocates” on an issue. Perhaps. But there’s nothing inconsistent about my position. Like I said, I consider libertarianism a closed system rather than an open system. I apply libertarian principles within our borders only.

        “Libertarians have a very specific set of laws and policies that they have advocated consistently, for many decades now. “

        Not really. There are lots of libertarians and they don’t all agree. Maybe this will clear up your confusion.

        destructure

        October 8, 2015 at 4:33 am

  18. This will be a very great series. The Lion of the Blogosphere devours the Zebras of Libertarianism.

    It is always interesting to ask Libertarians: just where do property rights come from? It is a question they don’t like to look too closely into.

    Another is: if shareholders can vote to (indirectly) control management of corporate land, then why shouldn’t citizens have the right to vote to control management of American land?

    Anonymous Bro

    October 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    • It is always interesting to ask Libertarians: just where do property rights come from?

      Game theory

      if shareholders can vote to (indirectly) control management of corporate land, then why shouldn’t citizens have the right to vote to control management of American land?

      The federal government owns 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States. Did you ever vote on how to use it?

      destructure

      October 7, 2015 at 7:15 pm

  19. The thing most venerated in libertarian economics is the “free market,” much like the cow is venerated by Hindus. Hindus believe that the cow is representative of divine and natural beneficence, and that is how libertarianists view the “free market.”

    To which the libertarian would reply there are no statistical models of cow divinity, but there are, in abundance, of libertarian economics. Therefore libertarianism is a true faith.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    October 7, 2015 at 5:49 pm

  20. The primary failure of Libertarians is not the belief in a Free Market, but the insane notion they can get anywhere without collective action. Without cooperative efforts all of you would be living drab lives where you had to build a sod roof house, grow all of your own food, and make all of your necessities like clothes. Without a framework of government there would be no standard currency, no rule of law and no one to settle disputes without violence. Ayn Rand writes these crazy novels where Rich and Powerful men face off against the Government, but instead of using their resources to fight them, they shut down their businesses and run away like chickens. Yeah, that’ll show them.
    Most of these Libertarians are city boys like Rand Paul or his Father Ron. These ain’t mountain men we’re talking about here. They can’t go into the woods and wrassle a bear like Daniel Boone, and they are both involved in Government aren’t they? How is running for political office not collective action again?
    The US Government sucks. Has for quite some time. However you can’t maintain any Civilization without some form of Government. Someone has to catch criminals, and perform jobs like maintaining the infrastructure and collecting and disposing of waste. Without Government subsidies no businesses could make a profit doing these essential services. Libertarianism itself is collective action. These individualists are collectively acting everytime they meet.

    Joshua Sinistar

    October 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

  21. The libertarian religion is prole.

    let's believe in miracles

    October 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

  22. “And just as Heaven is the reward for being a good Christian, “economic growth” is the reward for being a good libertarian.”

    Libertarians are AFRAID of the level of economic growth made possibly by large amounts of government spending and investment! They want the government to cut spending and services, and leave investment totally to the private sector, because the rich want to be the only game in town. If everyone embraced the fact that the government can grow the private sector by spending specifically to boost demand (issuing money), this takes away a lot of leverage from employers and the rich who are used to people grovelling at their feet and asking what reforms we have to make so they start hiring again.

    chairman

    October 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm

  23. 90+% of people who might choose the libertarian label simply mean it in the Jeffersonian “governs least, governs best” sense. Who could look at the world and think smaller, weaker governments are the thing to worry about?

    Attacking the sperged out ideologue economic ideas of certain weirdos who call themselves libertarian seems a bit silly to me. To an American audience what “libertarian” really means is: Let’s roll back the New Deal to the extent possible. Don’t pretend it means weird diatribes on “the non-aggression principle” or pure, theoretical free-market economics.

    joeyjoejoe

    October 7, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    • “Who could look at the world and think smaller, weaker governments are the thing to worry about?”

      Actually, weak governments are breeding grounds for terrorist movements like ISIS.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      October 7, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      • Agreed. Big difference between a small, efficient, stream-lined government and a weak one. Weak governments are bad news.

        destructure

        October 7, 2015 at 11:08 pm

  24. Perhaps the simplest measure of how good a regime is, is the behavior it engenders in its individual citizens. Communism makes people evil, backstabbing neighbors. Socialism makes people obnoxious and rude. Capitalism produces the best sorts of people. For example, controlling for ethnicity, USA > Europe > Ex-communist > Current Communist.

    When in Europe, the sim card I got from vodafone was broken, no fault of my own. But vodafone required me to pay for the sim card (1 day after purchase), because they don’t handle any refunds at all. They just dont give a ****. Thats the attitude of socialism.

    hmm

    October 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    • True that!

      Yakov

      October 7, 2015 at 8:57 pm

  25. All extreme ideologues are fools. Radical leftists are completely insane. Far right conservatives are religious kooks and phillistines. Hardcore Libertarians are mostly spergs who have little or no empathy or emotional intelligence.

    That being said the cores ethos of Libertarianism to me is the most rational and empowering. You just have to sift out some of the bad ideas they have, like open borders. The success of the philosophy hinges on an informed citizenry that can act and be treated like adults. For this very reason it could only ever work in the Anglo-Saxon world. And essentially that is exactly what it did. America was for the most part a libertarian society up until disastrous Democrat policies like the New Deal and the Immigration Act of 1965. You cannot have a truly free society when you have to baby-sit tens of millions of minorities and welfare queens. Ever since Roosevelt…

    B.T.D.T.

    October 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

  26. What happened to my comment?

    Lion of the Judah-sphere

    October 7, 2015 at 10:35 pm

  27. The truly unfettered Free Market involves force and murder. All’s fair in love & war.

    fakeemail

    October 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: