The ultimate goal of your ideology? - Page 10 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Classical liberalism. The individual before the state, non-interventionist, free-market based society.
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#14473636
mum wrote:It looks to me like you basically support a small government, but are not necessarily a minarchist ?
What services do you think are necessary for government to perform ?


This was directed at Blacktrance, but if I may. . . .

My ideology is 'classical liberal' or libertarian (small "L") meaning that the people should give the government whatever responsibilities they want it to have and otherwise be left alone to govern themselves.

When it comes to the federal government I suppose I am as close to a minarchist as you are likely to find in the USA. I want the federal government to be restricted to its specific Constitutional mandates and authority. That basically boils down to the federal government providing the national defense and recognizing and securing our individual rights, enforcing sufficient regulation to allow the various states to function as one cohesive nation and prevent the various states from doing physical, economic, or environmental violence to each other, and promote the general welfare meaning everybody's welfare without respect to demographics or socioeconomic circumstances. It will also form necessary and appropriate alliances with other nations without obligating the taxpayers without their consent.

Otherwise the federal government will leave the people strictly alone to live their lives and form themselves into whatever sorts of societies they wish to have. The federal government will not be involved in the process or implementation of healthcare delivery, education, social engineering, or charity of any kind but will leave all that up to the states and local communities to work out with the people.

The courts will be restricted to interpretation/arbitration of the intent of the existing law and will not expand or reinterpret any law for any reason--the making of laws is strictly limited to the existing national, state, or local governing bodies. If the law does not speak to an issue, the court will be silent on that issue.
#14473885
Foxfyre wrote:the people should give the government whatever responsibilities they want it to have and otherwise be left alone to govern themselves.

This seems a dangerous point of view. I would assume that a communist dictatorship would also argue that the government has the responsibilities that "the people" want it to have.
#14474625
Nunt wrote:This seems a dangerous point of view. I would assume that a communist dictatorship would also argue that the government has the responsibilities that "the people" want it to have.


Except that you cannot have a communist dictatorship that will leave the people alone to govern themselves. And the people in those countries know full well that their rights are assigned by the government and not the other way around.
#14504308
Foxfyre wrote:the people should give the government whatever responsibilities they want it to have and otherwise be left alone to govern themselves.

Nunt wrote:This seems a dangerous point of view. I would assume that a communist dictatorship would also argue that the government has the responsibilities that "the people" want it to have.

Why limit it to communist dictatorships? Doesn't every dictatorship use the same excuse?

Oh, maybe not theocratic dictatorships like North Korea, where the Kims rule by virtue of their supernatural powers....
#14507173
mum wrote:Wrong. We view the poor today as victims of government welfare. Without it there is much more incentive to work and and without regulations there are many many less barriers to working in some way.


And what about, say, blacks in America? Most aren't poor due to government welfare or regulation, most are poor due to centuries of white people standing on their backs and pushing their heads below the water. When slavery was abolished, there were little to no social programs to help blacks, and so there they were, horrifically poor and uneducated black people raising generation after generation of poor and undereducated offspring, all competing for jobs & post-secondary classroom seats vs better educated and wealthier whites. Libertarianism and deregulation isn't going to help these kinds of people very much, nor poor people in general. Being poor is very complex, and most often not simply about one's will to work hard.
#14507231
mikema63 wrote:The ultimate goal I suppose is a society in which you basically get what your willing to work for, generally wishing to impose a lobertarian sense of fairness onto society.

If your poor a libertarian wants it to be because your efforts were lacking and never due to some outside interference, and since it was your own fault they are naturally unwilling to help those people, viewing charity as a way to help the genuinely unfortunate and facilitate their efforts to better themselves.

By the same token libertarians want a society where a rich person really does make it through their own efforts and by improving society in some way.


This is an honourable goal but ridiculously naive and impossible to achieve within a libertarian society. For one thing, depending on who your parents are, where you were born etc. you will have advantages and/or disadvantages compared to others that will significantly impact your rate of success in life. There are also power hierarchies everywhere in society, and people are constantly trying to subject their power over others to their own advantage while keeping certain demographics suppressed and even exploited under their power. Deregulation serves to take away many of the laws and social programs that prevents these people from exploiting others. I don't want to live in a society where an employer is allowed to make their employees work 90 hours a week for 3 dollars an hour. I don't want to live in a society where only students with rich parents get to send their kids to a high quality university.

I don't want to be controlled by government in every aspect of my life either, but there is a balance. Every goal in society should be achieved by what works, not by ideology. If prices and costs of goods are reduced with private rather than nationalized industries, than make them privatized. If countries are statistically healthier when they have a universal single-payer healthcare system rather than largely privatized healthcare, then make the healthcare system single-payer.
#14533979
Unthinking Majority wrote:And what about, say, blacks in America? Most aren't poor due to government welfare or regulation, most are poor due to centuries of white people standing on their backs and pushing their heads below the water. When slavery was abolished, there were little to no social programs to help blacks, and so there they were, horrifically poor and uneducated black people raising generation after generation of poor and undereducated offspring, all competing for jobs & post-secondary classroom seats vs better educated and wealthier whites. Libertarianism and deregulation isn't going to help these kinds of people very much, nor poor people in general.

It's important to understand why there was slavery in America, and why emancipation didn't work.

American landowners wanted to be able to treat their landless workers like slaves, as European landowners did. But because there was so much good land available in America up until the mid-19th century, they couldn't: mistreated landless workers would just leave, and take up some good land of their own. That wasn't an option for the landless in Europe, so actual slavery wasn't necessary: just being landless removed their options along with their rights to liberty, so they could be treated like slaves even though they were putatively free. In America, there was lots of good land available, so the landless workers had to be deprived of their liberty to go off and use it: they had to be literally enslaved and fettered.

By the middle of the 19th century, the good land was rapidly being appropriated as private property. By the time of emancipation, the nearest good, available land was so far away that former slaves had no real possibility of going off to use it. They were stuck, and could be treated as slaves for the same economic reasons that landless European peasants could be treated like slaves: their rights to liberty had been removed, this time by landowning, whereas before it had been by legal slave deeds, whips, and fetters.

The failure of emancipation to materially improve the lot of many former slaves was a mystery often remarked on at the time, but understood by only vanishingly few:

"During the war I served in a Kentucky regiment in the Federal army. When the war broke out, my father owned sixty slaves. I had not been back to my old Kentucky
home for years until a short time ago, when I was met by one of my father's old negroes, who said to me: 'Master George, you say you set us free; but before God, I'm worse off than when I belonged to your father.' The planters, on the other hand, are contented with the change. They say, ' How foolish it was in us to go to war for slavery. We get labor cheaper now than when we owned the slaves.' How do they get it cheaper? Why, in the shape of rents they take more of the labor of the negro than they could under slavery, for then they were compelled to return him sufficient food, clothing and medical attendance to keep him well, and were compelled by conscience and public opinion, as well as by law, to keep him when he could no longer work. Now their interest and responsibility cease when they have got all the work out of him they can."


From a letter by George M. Jackson, St. Louis. Dated August 15, 1885.
Reprinted in Social Problems, by Henry George.
Being poor is very complex, and most often not simply about one's will to work hard.

It's not so much that being poor is complex, as that it can happen for three entirely distinct reasons:

1. Most commonly, the poor have been deprived of their rights to liberty without just compensation, and they simply don't have the excess productive capacity needed to overcome that handicap. It's like they have been put in a pool of water with a small weight (the privileges of the privileged) tied to their feet. Even though most people are good enough swimmers that they can keep their noses above the water even with the extra weight, some people aren't strong enough, or they don't have enough buoyancy, or they aren't good enough swimmers, so down they go.

2. Probably second most commonly, people have, through some chance circumstance, lost their ability to sustain themselves. They may have become physically, mentally, or emotionally ill. They may have been the victims of crime, or of a miscarriage of justice (a substantial fraction of the people in US prisons, for example, are innocent of the crimes of which they have been convicted). They may have been injured in an accident. Sometimes these chance circumstances can be complex, but usually they are pretty simple. These are the people who, through no fault of their own, couldn't stay afloat even without the weight of privilege tied to their feet.

3. Probably least commonly, but by far the most commonly assumed, are people who, through their own voluntarily chosen vices of foolishness, dishonesty, laziness, cowardice, etc., have taken actions that made them poor. These are the criminals, drug addicts, drunks, idlers, chronic liars and sociopaths, etc. who just weren't interested in making enough of an honest contribution to earn a decent lifestyle, or who have chosen paths that left them unable to do so. They are the ones who have tied weights on their own feet.
#14571800
Sithsaber wrote:So communists want to "revert" to a idealized pre classed based society where everything is automated and everyone lives in leisure (ignores space)

How is space, or scarcity, the relevant factor here? It seems the obstacle to the sort of society you indicate is human nature -- we are, on the whole, so lazy, selfish, greedy, ignorant, coercible... as to make it seem unlikely that such a society could come into being or endure.

There's already enough space for all of us, we're all here. There's already enough stuff for all of us, but it's not distributed equitably around the globe. Like Chomsky said in 1970: "We have today the technical and material resources to meet man's animal needs. We have not developed the cultural and moral resources... that make possible the humane and rational use of our material wealth and power."

Given current means of production and reasonable constraints on population growth, we could in principle choose a global society in which a moderate standard of living were guaranteed to every human being in exchange for a total number of lifetime labor hours, which sum of labor per lifetime decreases over the generations as technological efficiency of production increases, toward a theoretical minimum of zero. It's not "space" that prevents us from making this choice -- the only scarcity is moral scarcity, a scarcity of political will to make it so, a scarcity of social cohesion, the Tower of Babel.

Such is life. But consider the idea in its own right: Project from that protected "core economy" a free market in which entrepreneurs and laborers, passionate about profits or widgets or social goods as they may be, work and buy and sell according to their own lights, within the limits of regulations established to protect the rights, and health, and liberty of all citizens of Earth. That's *free* labor, as opposed to labor coerced by the consequences of an artificial "scarcity". The most freedom for the greatest number.

There's good sense in the slogan "property is theft" -- good libertarian sense. Beyond a certain threshold, disparities in private wealth amount to an encroachment on the rights and liberty of the less wealthy, and tend to erode the foundations of democracy and freedom under the force of oligarchy, plutocracy, and tyranny. To wit, Citizens United.
#14572620
American Serf wrote:How is space, or scarcity, the relevant factor here? It seems the obstacle to the sort of society you indicate is human nature -- we are, on the whole, so lazy, selfish, greedy, ignorant, coercible... as to make it seem unlikely that such a society could come into being or endure.

Laws and institutions are supposed to tone down that side of human nature. That's what they are (putatively) for.
There's already enough space for all of us, we're all here. There's already enough stuff for all of us, but it's not distributed equitably around the globe. Like Chomsky said in 1970: "We have today the technical and material resources to meet man's animal needs. We have not developed the cultural and moral resources... that make possible the humane and rational use of our material wealth and power."

Read my posts in the previous page of this thread for a better explanation than Chomsky's.
But consider the idea in its own right: Project from that protected "core economy" a free market in which entrepreneurs and laborers, passionate about profits or widgets or social goods as they may be, work and buy and sell according to their own lights, within the limits of regulations established to protect the rights, and health, and liberty of all citizens of Earth. That's *free* labor, as opposed to labor coerced by the consequences of an artificial "scarcity".

It can never be free labor as long as the laborers must pay landowners for access to the opportunities government, the community and nature provide. The scarcity of land is inherent in the differing qualities of the opportunities accessible from different locations.
There's good sense in the slogan "property is theft" -- good libertarian sense.

Property in privileges like land titles is theft. Not property in the fruits of one's labor.
Beyond a certain threshold, disparities in private wealth amount to an encroachment on the rights and liberty of the less wealthy, and tend to erode the foundations of democracy and freedom under the force of oligarchy, plutocracy, and tyranny. To wit, Citizens United.

But it's not amount of wealth that leads to exploitation, oppression and enslavement. It's the type of wealth: i.e., privilege, which is nothing but legal entitlement to benefit from the uncompensated abrogation of others' rights.
#14572759
Truth To Power wrote:Laws and institutions are supposed to tone down that side of human nature. That's what they are (putatively) for.

Depends on who you ask. In some circles, they are putatively "for" coercing the many, maintaining a status quo that favors an established elite, etc. Perhaps we should say it depends on the character of the laws and institutions, the political system that governs, the socioeconomic order, and such factors?

Truth To Power wrote:Read my posts in the previous page of this thread for a better explanation than Chomsky's.

A better explanation of why we have yet to utilize our global wealth in a humane and rational way? On the previous page you seem primarily interested in land ownership. Is that what you mean? I'm not sure that this is a better explanation, but it is quite specific. Do you mean to suggest that, if only we had the right sort of land reforms, humanity would at long last utilize its global wealth in a humane and rational way?

That strikes me as unlikely.

Even if that were true -- what prevents us from making the sort of change you suggest? What prevents us from establishing the right "laws and institutions" today?

Truth To Power wrote:It can never be free labor as long as the laborers must pay landowners for access to the opportunities government, the community and nature provide. The scarcity of land is inherent in the differing qualities of the opportunities accessible from different locations.

I agree, radical land reform would be part of any satisfying solution. On the sort of pipe-dream I was sketching, guaranteed (free) use of land for individuals, households, or communities would be part of the "core economy". I see no other way to achieve the "economic freedom" I'm aiming at with that sketch.

I leave it an open question whether, outside that protected core, some land would be bought and sold on the free market.

Truth To Power wrote:Property in privileges like land titles is theft. Not property in the fruits of one's labor.

No, any property in the form of private wealth. Why should one busy, anxious man rule the world because he has worked the most on his parcel? We don't need that sort of work. If he wants to work his land so hard, let him. If he wants to sell his fruits, let him. But wealth is taxed progressively and after a limit severely; and transgenerational wealth-transfer is severely capped. Keep chasing profits, if that's what you're after. But you'll run into diminishing returns for your toil, if you measure returns that way. And the reason for this structure: Great disparities in wealth are disparities in power, they pave the road to tyranny and are contrary to the possibility of universal freedom. Rousseau makes a similar point, commenting on "an observation which might serve as the basis for the whole social system":

The observation:
Rousseau wrote:...the [ideal] social pact, far from destroying natural equality, substitutes, on the contrary, a moral and lawful equality for whatever physical inequality that nature may have imposed on mankind; so that however unequal in strength and intelligence, men become equal by covenant and by right.


The comment:
Rousseau wrote:Under a bad government, this equality is only an appearance and an illusion; it serves only to keep the poor in their wretchedness and sustain the rich in their usurpation. In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.

Beyond right proportion, wealth is tyranny.

Truth To Power wrote:But it's not amount of wealth that leads to exploitation, oppression and enslavement. It's the type of wealth: i.e., privilege, which is nothing but legal entitlement to benefit from the uncompensated abrogation of others' rights.

And is land ownership the only sort of wealth you can conceive of that's covered by this abstract characterization of "privilege"? You might use the characterization to make my point. Excess concentration of wealth is, in our actual current society, indeed a privilege and a "legal entitlement to benefit from the uncompensated abrogation of others' rights."
#14572961
Truth To Power wrote:Laws and institutions are supposed to tone down that side of human nature. That's what they are (putatively) for.

American Serf wrote:Depends on who you ask. In some circles, they are putatively "for" coercing the many, maintaining a status quo that favors an established elite, etc. Perhaps we should say it depends on the character of the laws and institutions, the political system that governs, the socioeconomic order, and such factors?

Yes. My point was that the rationale of controlling the nasty side of human nature is often more putative than real. The greed and enslavement are just enabled by law rather than force of violence.
Truth To Power wrote:Read my posts in the previous page of this thread for a better explanation than Chomsky's.

A better explanation of why we have yet to utilize our global wealth in a humane and rational way? On the previous page you seem primarily interested in land ownership. Is that what you mean?

It's the original, main, and universal problem, but not the only one.
I'm not sure that this is a better explanation, but it is quite specific. Do you mean to suggest that, if only we had the right sort of land reforms, humanity would at long last utilize its global wealth in a humane and rational way?

No, just that it's impossible without the right kind of land reform.
That strikes me as unlikely.

It's true that there are other kinds of privilege than landowning -- especially IP monopolies, banksters' privilege of issuing debt money, union and professional association monopolies, and corporate limited liability -- and together they outweigh landowning in most advanced countries; but landowning is still the biggest piece and the fundamental problem, because almost any attempt to redress the other problems is stymied by the landowners' privilege of charging everyone else for access to any compensatory benefit.
Even if that were true -- what prevents us from making the sort of change you suggest? What prevents us from establishing the right "laws and institutions" today?

Greed, ignorance, dishonesty, laziness, avarice, parasitism, stupidity, inertia, cowardice and greed.
Truth To Power wrote:It can never be free labor as long as the laborers must pay landowners for access to the opportunities government, the community and nature provide. The scarcity of land is inherent in the differing qualities of the opportunities accessible from different locations.

I agree, radical land reform would be part of any satisfying solution. On the sort of pipe-dream I was sketching, guaranteed (free) use of land for individuals, households, or communities would be part of the "core economy". I see no other way to achieve the "economic freedom" I'm aiming at with that sketch.

Yes, there can be no solution without restoring the individual right to liberty that landowning forcibly removes.
I leave it an open question whether, outside that protected core, some land would be bought and sold on the free market.

Just and efficient allocation of the scarce resource can be achieved under various institutional arrangements; but as the price of land simply measures the expected welfare subsidy the landowner will take from the community, significant exchange prices for land cannot arise in a free market. Allocation of land in a free market must therefore be primarily by rental prices, not buying and selling prices.
Truth To Power wrote:Property in privileges like land titles is theft. Not property in the fruits of one's labor.

No, any property in the form of private wealth.

No, that's objectively false, because unlike property in land titles and other privileges, property in the fruits of one's labor does not deprive anyone else of anything they would otherwise have. This is the crucial fact that capitalism and socialism must try to prevent you from knowing.
Why should one busy, anxious man rule the world because he has worked the most on his parcel?

Whether he should or not, he can't. He needs privilege if he is going to stop others from exercising their rights to liberty.

You need to find a willingness to know the difference between the producer's power to give to others what they would not otherwise have had, and the landowner's power to take from others what they would otherwise have had.
We don't need that sort of work.

What sort of work? We do need producers if we are going to live.
If he wants to work his land so hard, let him.

"His" land? You are already on the wrong track.
If he wants to sell his fruits, let him.

Exactly. He is not hurting anyone thereby.
But wealth is taxed progressively and after a limit severely;

Why? Why punish those who contribute to the wealth of the community?
and transgenerational wealth-transfer is severely capped.

Why? By what right do you prevent people from helping their children?
Keep chasing profits, if that's what you're after. But you'll run into diminishing returns for your toil, if you measure returns that way.

By what right could you forcibly diminish the return to his toil?
And the reason for this structure: Great disparities in wealth are disparities in power, they pave the road to tyranny and are contrary to the possibility of universal freedom.

Nonsense. There is a difference between great power to give and great power to take. Learn it, or continue to talk nonsense on the subject permanently.
Rousseau makes a similar point, commenting on "an observation which might serve as the basis for the whole social system":

Rousseau wrote:...the [ideal] social pact, far from destroying natural equality, substitutes, on the contrary, a moral and lawful equality for whatever physical inequality that nature may have imposed on mankind; so that however unequal in strength and intelligence, men become equal by covenant and by right.

By what right? By what covenant?
Rousseau wrote:Under a bad government, this equality is only an appearance and an illusion; it serves only to keep the poor in their wretchedness and sustain the rich in their usurpation. In truth, laws are always useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing; from which it follows that the social state is advantageous to men only when all possess something and none has too much.

Rousseau is factually wrong, because he doesn't understand the difference between the producer's power to give and the power of the privileged to take. In fact, he seems not to understand that there is even such a thing as production, and considers wealth to be purely a matter of who owns how much of it.
Beyond right proportion, wealth is tyranny.

And right proportion is in proportion to one's contribution to the production of wealth.
Truth To Power wrote:But it's not amount of wealth that leads to exploitation, oppression and enslavement. It's the type of wealth: i.e., privilege, which is nothing but legal entitlement to benefit from the uncompensated abrogation of others' rights.

And is land ownership the only sort of wealth you can conceive of that's covered by this abstract characterization of "privilege"?

Not at all. See above. But landowning is the basic and still most important one: any benefit we could get from abolishing other forms of privilege would simply flow through as increased land rent, and be appropriated entirely by landowners.
You might use the characterization to make my point. Excess concentration of wealth is, in our actual current society, indeed a privilege and a "legal entitlement to benefit from the uncompensated abrogation of others' rights."

No, excess concentration of wealth is an EFFECT of privilege. Ownership of the wealth one has produced, whatever its magnitude, does not and cannot abrogate anyone else's rights. It just adds to the wealth of the community.
#14573014
Truth To Power wrote:Yes, there can be no solution without restoring the individual right to liberty that landowning forcibly removes.

We seem robustly agreed on this crucial point.

Truth To Power wrote:Just and efficient allocation of the scarce resource can be achieved under various institutional arrangements; but as the price of land simply measures the expected welfare subsidy the landowner will take from the community, significant exchange prices for land cannot arise in a free market. Allocation of land in a free market must therefore be primarily by rental prices, not buying and selling prices.

Care to expand on this technical point?

Truth To Power wrote:No, that's objectively false, because unlike property in land titles and other privileges, property in the fruits of one's labor does not deprive anyone else of anything they would otherwise have. This is the crucial fact that capitalism and socialism must try to prevent you from knowing.

I suppose capitalism and socialism have succeeded in that aim, since I don't see how things could be so. This "fact" of yours strikes me as an unwarranted maxim, a bit of rhetoric. If a few increase their private wealth far beyond the average, and hence increase their social influence and power, to the extent that they come to dominate the media, and the schools, and the government -- and also dominate whole sectors of the economy by gobbling up or selling off goods -- how do you assure me that this class of wealth-elites do not become plutocrats who will tilt the economic order and the laws in their own direction? Just in virtue of having free access to land, the rest of the people will be wise to the plutocrats' game and offset their self-interested abuses?

Truth To Power wrote:Whether he should or not, he can't. He needs privilege if he is going to stop others from exercising their rights to liberty.

Again, it feels to me as if you're waving the word "privilege" around like a magic wand. There is such a thing as coercion. Wealth is a mechanism by which to manipulate the masses, to divide and conquer, to distract and confuse, to "win hearts and minds", to manufacture "consent". Having your own acre and your own tractor doesn't make you immune to coercion.

American Serf wrote:We don't need that sort of work.
Truth To Power wrote:What sort of work? We do need producers if we are going to live.

Producers, but not devils hell-bent on maximizing production for maximum private profits without concern for "external" socioeconomic costs. We don't need them at all.

Truth To Power wrote:"His" land? You are already on the wrong track.

Surely it's not a free-for-all? How is the land allocated for use? Compare, while he's there: "His seat in a theater", "His place in line".

Truth To Power wrote:Why? Why punish those who contribute to the wealth of the community? [...] By what right do you prevent people from helping their children? [...] By what right could you forcibly diminish the return to his toil?

If you're not sure what kind of answer I'd give to these questions, you've missed the point I've been aiming at.

Truth To Power wrote:Nonsense. There is a difference between great power to give and great power to take. Learn it, or continue to talk nonsense on the subject permanently.

Nonsense? I could say the same, each time you wave your wand and avoid the obvious. So it seems from my point of view. I suggest we speak civilly here together even when we don't see eye to eye, and join together in a spirit of goodwill and fellowship. What's the point of these conversations, after all? Do you think the questions and the answers are so clear cut and set in stone?

Now as to that "nonsense": What is the difference you have in mind between the power to give and the power to take? If I use my television station to brainwash your children while you plow your acre, or short corn, or play banjo, or whatever it is you prefer to do with your freedom -- have I given you something, or taken something from you? What's the purpose of this metaphor, and what are its limits?

Truth To Power wrote:By what right? By what covenant?

I agree, Rousseau's language of rights and covenants often feels antiquated. In my case, the justification is the optimization of the value of freedom for all human beings. Freedom, prosperity, humanity. Let's start there.

Truth To Power wrote:Rousseau is factually wrong, because he doesn't understand the difference between the producer's power to give and the power of the privileged to take. In fact, he seems not to understand that there is even such a thing as production, and considers wealth to be purely a matter of who owns how much of it.

Back to this again -- I await your objective account of giving and taking.

American Serf wrote:Beyond right proportion, wealth is tyranny.
Truth To Power wrote:And right proportion is in proportion to one's contribution to the production of wealth.

Well, at least we've found the spot where our views diverge. So far as that goes, it seems to me you haven't addressed my point so much as repeated your slogan at it several times. Why should anyone -- in a world like this! -- believe or hope that disparities of wealth won't tend toward disparities of power and liberty? Metaphorical gestures about giving and taking don't satisfy me in this connection; and it doesn't seem the sort of problem one solves with a calculator.

Truth To Power wrote:No, excess concentration of wealth is an EFFECT of privilege. Ownership of the wealth one has produced, whatever its magnitude, does not and cannot abrogate anyone else's rights. It just adds to the wealth of the community.

Ok, so it seems the technical account I've asked from you might help to unpack the metaphor.

You're saying that so long as the "privileges" you're concerned with are addressed once and for all, it won't ever be *possible* for wealth to be concentrated unequally. That's what you're saying? Not just that "ownership of one's own fruits cannot abrogate another's rights", whatever that means -- but more specifically, given the absence of "privileges", one's real net worth (in money terms, or by what measure) cannot ever possibly grow much bigger than the net worth of others (in the same terms), even if one uses his freedom to devote his whole damn life to the maximization of his net worth while others use their freedom in other ways and do not aim to maximize net worth?
#14573497
Truth To Power wrote:Just and efficient allocation of the scarce resource can be achieved under various institutional arrangements; but as the price of land simply measures the expected welfare subsidy the landowner will take from the community, significant exchange prices for land cannot arise in a free market. Allocation of land in a free market must therefore be primarily by rental prices, not buying and selling prices.

American Serf wrote:Care to expand on this technical point?

Sure. By definition, a free market can't include subsidies for some participants at the unwilling expense of others. As the market exchange price of land is nothing but the expected subsidy to the landowner at the unwilling expense of everyone else, it can't be significant in a free market. So in a free market, who gets to use the land is decided by reference to its market rental price, not its (derisory) market exchange price. IOW all prospective land users are then effectively bidding to rent land, not to buy it.
Truth To Power wrote:No, that's objectively false, because unlike property in land titles and other privileges, property in the fruits of one's labor does not deprive anyone else of anything they would otherwise have. This is the crucial fact that capitalism and socialism must try to prevent you from knowing.

I suppose capitalism and socialism have succeeded in that aim, since I don't see how things could be so. This "fact" of yours strikes me as an unwarranted maxim, a bit of rhetoric.

It's a physical fact: if I produce something and own it, you lose nothing. But if I appropriate land and own it, you lose your liberty to use it. Likewise with any other privilege: ownership rights in privileges make others worse off; ownership rights in the fruits of one's labor doesn't.
If a few increase their private wealth far beyond the average, and hence increase their social influence and power, to the extent that they come to dominate the media, and the schools, and the government -- and also dominate whole sectors of the economy by gobbling up or selling off goods -- how do you assure me that this class of wealth-elites do not become plutocrats who will tilt the economic order and the laws in their own direction?

You're talking about two different things: the producer's physical power to give benefits to others, and the potential that this power could be used to influence a political process to obtain institutional power to take from others (i.e., privilege). The second is the threat, not the first.
Just in virtue of having free access to land, the rest of the people will be wise to the plutocrats' game and offset their self-interested abuses?

It enables them to resist, if they are so inclined.
Truth To Power wrote:Whether he should or not, he can't. He needs privilege if he is going to stop others from exercising their rights to liberty.

Again, it feels to me as if you're waving the word "privilege" around like a magic wand.

It simply identifies and isolates the central issue -- which can indeed seem like magic to those unaccustomed to keen insight into and deep understanding of subtle and complex phenomena.
There is such a thing as coercion. Wealth is a mechanism by which to manipulate the masses, to divide and conquer, to distract and confuse, to "win hearts and minds", to manufacture "consent".

Sure, extreme wealth can be turned to unworthy ends as well as beneficial ones. But so can extreme intelligence, learning, beauty, technological advancement, or any other power to give benefits to others. Does that mean we have to stop anyone from having "too much" of those things, too? Ever read Kurt Vonnegut's, "Harrison Bergeron"?

There is a very good reason we WANT the most productive people to have the most wealth, and even to have extreme wealth: they are the ones best able to allocate that wealth for optimum productive effect, to the benefit of all.
Having your own acre and your own tractor doesn't make you immune to coercion.

Of course not, but there is a difference between persuasion and coercion. The greedy will always use whatever means are available to take more than they need or deserve; but we need to distinguish between the means and the ends. Threatening to take what someone has is coercion; offering them something they don't have is not.
American Serf wrote:We don't need that sort of work.
Truth To Power wrote:What sort of work? We do need producers if we are going to live.

Producers, but not devils hell-bent on maximizing production for maximum private profits without concern for "external" socioeconomic costs.

It is up to our institutions to make sure costs are internalized, not producers.
We don't need them at all.

We need people who know how to allocate resources for maximum productive effect. It is up to the rest of us to make sure all the costs are included -- and we need to be very, very clear about what is a genuine cost, and what is merely someone's personal ox being gored through others' free choices to take up opportunities. A cure for spinal cord injuries would put all the wheelchair manufacturers out of business, but that is not a valid reason to suppress spinal cord research; and the resulting unemployment of their workers is not a genuine social cost, however much it might look like a cost to them.
Truth To Power wrote:"His" land? You are already on the wrong track.

Surely it's not a free-for-all? How is the land allocated for use?

Open bidding for secure tenure in a rental market.
Compare, while he's there: "His seat in a theater", "His place in line".

That looks like equivocation: it depends what your definition of "his" is...
Truth To Power wrote:Why? Why punish those who contribute to the wealth of the community? [...] By what right do you prevent people from helping their children? [...] By what right could you forcibly diminish the return to his toil?

If you're not sure what kind of answer I'd give to these questions, you've missed the point I've been aiming at.

I'm asking YOU to think about the answers you would give to those questions, and reconsider the justifications you believe are valid.
Truth To Power wrote:Nonsense. There is a difference between great power to give and great power to take. Learn it, or continue to talk nonsense on the subject permanently.

Nonsense? I could say the same, each time you wave your wand and avoid the obvious.

I am not avoiding the obvious. I am showing you why it does not mean what you consider it obviously to mean. There are some very subtle issues involved, issues not one person in 1000 understands.
Do you think the questions and the answers are so clear cut and set in stone?

If they can be stated and understood as clearly as I understand them, they are clear cut and set in stone.
What is the difference you have in mind between the power to give and the power to take?

Now that IS obvious.
If I use my television station to brainwash your children while you plow your acre, or short corn, or play banjo, or whatever it is you prefer to do with your freedom -- have I given you something, or taken something from you?

Neither: I'm not even a participant in the transaction. You have given my children only an opportunity to access your broadcasts, and have taken nothing from anyone (assuming you paid the market rent to the public treasury for the public airwaves you occupy). No one forces anyone to watch your station, and I have the option of not letting my children watch it, or of not having a TV in the house (which in fact I didn't for many years).
What's the purpose of this metaphor, and what are its limits?

It's not a metaphor. It is a literal description of concrete reality. While the power to give can be used for wrongful purposes, the power to take is inherently wrongful. And by reducing people's power to give, you reduce the amount they give, impoverishing everyone.
In my case, the justification is the optimization of the value of freedom for all human beings.

Sounds like you want to decide what is optimum value for others...

Who's to say my kids have been brainwashed, and not educated or enlightened by your TV station? Maybe they learned how to spot deceit and manipulation by watching it.
Freedom, prosperity, humanity. Let's start there.

I'm all about freedom, properly understood. However, I notice you don't include justice in your motto. No freedom, prosperity or humanity without justice -- and justice means rewards commensurate with contributions and penalties commensurate with deprivations.
Truth To Power wrote:Rousseau is factually wrong, because he doesn't understand the difference between the producer's power to give and the power of the privileged to take. In fact, he seems not to understand that there is even such a thing as production, and considers wealth to be purely a matter of who owns how much of it.

Back to this again -- I await your objective account of giving and taking.

Just find a willingness to know the relevant self-evident and indisputable facts of objective physical reality.
American Serf wrote:Beyond right proportion, wealth is tyranny.
Truth To Power wrote:And right proportion is in proportion to one's contribution to the production of wealth.

Well, at least we've found the spot where our views diverge. So far as that goes, it seems to me you haven't addressed my point so much as repeated your slogan at it several times. Why should anyone -- in a world like this! -- believe or hope that disparities of wealth won't tend toward disparities of power and liberty?

Of course disparities of wealth give rise to disparities of power, just as disparities of intelligence, beauty, etc. do, and just as legitimately -- assuming none have been unjustly deprived of theirs. There is nothing wrong with a woman being more beautiful than other women -- unless someone has taken beauty from them (e.g., mutilated them to make them less beautiful). There is likewise nothing wrong with someone being more intelligent than others -- unless someone has taken intelligence from the others (e.g., by depriving them of the opportunity to learn to read).

But only privilege (or crime, of course) can create disparities in liberty, and if those who have the ability to allocate resources more productively are not enabled to do so through having possession and control of them, we all miss out on the resulting prosperity.
Metaphorical gestures about giving and taking don't satisfy me in this connection;

It's not metaphor. It is literal, physical fact. The landowner has PHYSICALLY TAKEN AWAY your liberty to use the land, which you would have if he did not remove it, while someone who owns what he produces PHYSICALLY GIVES it to those with whom he consensually trades, who would not have had it if he had not produced it.

I'm not sure there is any clearer, simpler way to explain that.
and it doesn't seem the sort of problem one solves with a calculator.

If you know what the calculation means, it is.
Truth To Power wrote:No, excess concentration of wealth is an EFFECT of privilege. Ownership of the wealth one has produced, whatever its magnitude, does not and cannot abrogate anyone else's rights. It just adds to the wealth of the community.

Ok, so it seems the technical account I've asked from you might help to unpack the metaphor.

It is not metaphor. It is literal, physical fact.
You're saying that so long as the "privileges" you're concerned with are addressed once and for all, it won't ever be *possible* for wealth to be concentrated unequally. That's what you're saying?

Not at all. I'm saying that absent privilege, no one can legally be victimized -- i.e., deprived of what they would otherwise have -- by others' wealth. Wealth would certainly be distributed unequally, and possibly even unjustly (people are free to give others wealth they don't deserve); but no one would have any grounds for complaint that they were being deprived of what was rightly theirs.
Not just that "ownership of one's own fruits cannot abrogate another's rights", whatever that means -- but more specifically, given the absence of "privileges", one's real net worth (in money terms, or by what measure) cannot ever possibly grow much bigger than the net worth of others (in the same terms), even if one uses his freedom to devote his whole damn life to the maximization of his net worth while others use their freedom in other ways and do not aim to maximize net worth?

No, that is not what I am saying at all. Certainly, I believe that absent privilege, inequalities of wealth would be a small fraction of what they are today. But unlike you, I am not troubled by all inequality of wealth. I see inequality everywhere -- it is an inescapable natural consequence of liberty -- and inequality of wealth has its rightful place, just as inequalities of intelligence, learning, beauty, etc. do.
#14575317
Libertarians baulk at the prospect of big government and it telling them how to live their lives; but without a uniform all encompassing way to enforce law and order on the territory these libertarians reside in, will they enjoy being told by their richer neighbours, with their bigger private armies, larger investment portfolios, larger tracts of land, what to do? How to live their lives? Where they can and cannot invest?

You're just shifting authority around into an impossible, unpredictable dynamic. A dog eat dog post-apocalyptic nightmare fantasy, to be precise. Want to live with pure libertarianism? Go play Fallout.
#14575755
Igor Antunov wrote:Libertarians baulk at the prospect of big government and it telling them how to live their lives; but without a uniform all encompassing way to enforce law and order on the territory these libertarians reside in, will they enjoy being told by their richer neighbours, with their bigger private armies, larger investment portfolios, larger tracts of land, what to do? How to live their lives? Where they can and cannot invest?

You're just shifting authority around into an impossible, unpredictable dynamic. A dog eat dog post-apocalyptic nightmare fantasy, to be precise. Want to live with pure libertarianism? Go play Fallout.

Pretty much. We know the results of historical experiments with eliminating government while retaining private property in land: feudalism, which then over time stabilizes and becomes state-like government. Most libertarians deny this historical dynamic is unavoidable, but others are more honest, and express frank admiration for feudalism.
#14588709
Q: "How can we maximize the number of correct decisions being made and minimize the number of bad decisions being made, without any way to know which decisions are good and which ones are bad?"

A: "Ensure that people are proportionately punished for making bad decisions and rewarded for making good ones"

Q: "How do we ensure that without any way to objectively know how good or bad a decision is?"

A: "By ensuring that everyone bears 100% of the consequences of their decisions, regardless of what those decisions are"

Q: "And how do we do that?"

A: "Property rights"

This is the foundation, not just of libertarian moral philosophy, but of morality itself and even civilization. The telos of liberty is nothing more or less than the encouragement of sound decision-making by guaranteeing that everyone reaps the rewards of their own good decisions and suffers the fallout of their bad decisions. It is about maximizing production and minimizing destruction.

Really, anyone who is familiar with The Ant and the Grasshopper or The Little Red Hen shouldn't need this principle explained to them.

taxizen wrote:Libertarianism / Anarchism is the ideology for grown ups. Statism is the ideology of the permanent child.


taxizen wrote:capitalism is private property and the trade of property rights. Not "exploiting the workers" or other politically motivated grievance wanking.




Do you mind if I sig these?

Rei Murasame wrote:For example if we are kids and I am on the playground, and you guys push me to the ground because I'm little, and I say, "that's unfair!", and I jump back up and push you back, there is a chance that this will lead to people deciding not to expend the effort pushing me again, because I don't make it worth their while.

It doesn't mean that there's an objective right to not have someone hit me without permission, but it's the case that if I can carve out enough power to prevent it from happening, then the right appears to manifest itself when everyone agrees to that arrangement. People might conclude, "the playground seems to be more enjoyable if we don't fight each other at random".


On the other hand, if you have ice cream, and I'm strong enough to take it and prevent you from taking it back, I could very well decide that it IS worth my while. And the biggest kids on the playground would be inclined to agree with me. What happens then? Most likely, you'd stop bringing ice cream to the playground... and then NOBODY would have any ice cream. But everyone wants ice cream, right? So eventually, we come to an agreement: anyone who brings ice cream gets to decide the fate of their own ice cream. Thus, property rights are born.

But what if I don't actually want your ice cream? What if I just want to feel resistance being overcome? What if getting you to push back is the whole reason why I pushed you to begin with, because I'm an asshole like that? Would you accept being my punching bag for as long as I see fit because might makes right, or would you start to think that the reason why I shouldn't behave this way has nothing to do with your ability or inability to stop me?

Heisenberg wrote:Funnily enough, battery farming is a perfect example of capitalist "efficiency" and "innovation". Ironic, isn't it?


Only if you consider other sentient beings to be capital... a point of view commonly known as "slavery". As has been pointed out, true libertarians should be against ALL forms of slavery, which is why libertarianism must necessarily include support for animal rights.

Truth To Power wrote:The ring in humanity's nose is property in land: their liberty has been removed by that simple but subtle instrument, so that in honestly pursuing their livelihoods, they are inexorably reduced to utter confinement, oppression and enslavement, their suffering unrelieved and their toil unrewarded. How many pathetic cattle (or sheep), right on this forum, declare that property in land is the path to "liberty"... if only one will consent "voluntarily" to spend the decades of one's productive working life in debt servitude to a mortgage lender?


Truth To Power wrote:More importantly, every producer is forced to pay for government TWICE: once in taxes to pay for the desirable services and infrastructure that are most efficiently provided by the community, and then again in land rent to landowners, for access to the very same services and infrastructure his taxes just paid for. This system exists so that the landowner can collect the latter payment without having to contribute anything whatever in return.


Very true. I really wish that more libertarians would get on board with geolibertarianism. George was a goddamn genius.

Igor Antunov wrote:Libertarians baulk at the prospect of big government and it telling them how to live their lives; but without a uniform all encompassing way to enforce law and order on the territory these libertarians reside in, will they enjoy being told by their richer neighbours, with their bigger private armies, larger investment portfolios, larger tracts of land, what to do? How to live their lives? Where they can and cannot invest?

You're just shifting authority around into an impossible, unpredictable dynamic. A dog eat dog post-apocalyptic nightmare fantasy, to be precise. Want to live with pure libertarianism? Go play Fallout.


That's anarchy, not libertarianism.
#14588714
Would you accept being my punching bag for as long as I see fit because might makes right,


You misunderstand the phrase might makes right, its not an argument that it is moral or vorrect that the powerful makes the rules. Its just how reality works, the group with the most power to impose rules makes the most rules. That a single bully is overcome by a group in your example is exactly that. The group had more power than the individual.
#14588729
Katie Boundary wrote:But what if I don't actually want your ice cream? What if I just want to feel resistance being overcome? What if getting you to push back is the whole reason why I pushed you to begin with, because I'm an asshole like that? Would you accept being my punching bag for as long as I see fit because might makes right, or would you start to think that the reason why I shouldn't behave this way has nothing to do with your ability or inability to stop me?

Either I, or a group of people who I recruit, would simply try to viciously beat you every time, because might makes right. If you didn't stop, we'd just keep having that fight ad infinitum.

That's probably the easiest question on the subject I've ever had to answer.
#14588735
taxizen wrote:Libertarianism / Anarchism is the ideology for grown ups. Statism is the ideology of the permanent child.


taxizen wrote:capitalism is private property and the trade of property rights. Not "exploiting the workers" or other politically motivated grievance wanking.


Katie Boundary wrote:

Do you mind if I sig these?


Feel free, my understanding regarding "statism" and libertarianism has become a bit more nuanced and more pragmatic / less idealistic since I made those comments though, so I don't altogether continue to stand by the first statement although I still do the second of course.
#14589439
Katie Boundary wrote:Q: "How can we maximize the number of correct decisions being made and minimize the number of bad decisions being made, without any way to know which decisions are good and which ones are bad?"

A: "Ensure that people are proportionately punished for making bad decisions and rewarded for making good ones"

Q: "How do we ensure that without any way to objectively know how good or bad a decision is?"

A: "By ensuring that everyone bears 100% of the consequences of their decisions, regardless of what those decisions are"

Q: "And how do we do that?"

A: "Property rights"

That is a non sequitur. Valid property rights -- i.e., property in the fruits of one's labor -- only accurately allot responsibility in a restricted class of situations, and invalid property rights (e.g., property in land) don't even have that effect.
This is the foundation, not just of libertarian moral philosophy, but of morality itself and even civilization.

The institution of economic society that enabled Neolithic humanity to occupy and dominate all productive ecosystems is based on property in the fruits of one's labor. Civilization -- i.e., settled, permanent, post hunter-gatherer and nomadic herding society -- rests on the institution of secure, exclusive private land tenure, which has most often been accomplished by the quick and dirty -- and now default -- solution of private property in land.
The telos of liberty is nothing more or less than the encouragement of sound decision-making by guaranteeing that everyone reaps the rewards of their own good decisions and suffers the fallout of their bad decisions.

But that is justice more than liberty. Justice is what makes liberty useful.
It is about maximizing production and minimizing destruction.

But that is in turn based on an assumption that production is preferable to destruction, which is based on the objective fact that production provides a survival advantage.
Really, anyone who is familiar with The Ant and the Grasshopper or The Little Red Hen shouldn't need this principle explained to them.

Ah, it's a little more complicated than that.
taxizen wrote:capitalism is private property and the trade of property rights. Not "exploiting the workers" or other politically motivated grievance wanking.

Do you mind if I sig these?

Careful. Private property in land automatically results in exploitation of workers, as it removes their rights to liberty without just (or any) compensation.
Heisenberg wrote:Funnily enough, battery farming is a perfect example of capitalist "efficiency" and "innovation". Ironic, isn't it?

Only if you consider other sentient beings to be capital... a point of view commonly known as "slavery". As has been pointed out, true libertarians should be against ALL forms of slavery, which is why libertarianism must necessarily include support for animal rights.

Slavery is labor compelled by force. Labor is human effort devoted to production. Therefore, non-humans cannot be slaves.
I really wish that more libertarians would get on board with geolibertarianism.

That is the litmus test of whether they really advocate liberty. Most do not, and would more accurately be called, "propertarians." Some, such as the execrable Paul Birch, have actually tried to justify chattel slavery on the grounds that the slave owner's liberty to own property in other people takes priority over those people's rights to liberty.
George was a goddamn genius.

True. Vituperation directed at Henry George reliably demonstrates hatred of liberty, justice, and truth by those on both the right and the left.
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