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Comment count is 34
Cena_mark - 2012-12-31

I know hating libertarians is cool here, but calling Penn a con-man is bullshit!

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

Hear hear.

But as to Glenn Beck being "a libertarian". I keep hearing this, but nothing I've seen from him strikes me as particularly "libertariany". Granted, I haven't seen much, and most of what I have seen has come filtered from hostile sources, like Jon Stewart.

Is he just the social conservative's version of Bill Maher, or is there something I'm missing here?

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

Dont confuse hate with calling someone out on their bullshit.

There are perhaps a dozen or so countries with a good bit of socialism and freedom with better health and standards of living than the US. There are no libertarian places I'd like to live in. American society is too dumb right now to be left to their own devices. People aren't going to magically educate themselves, etc. en masse.

The biggest problem with libertarianism besides the magical thinking that the invisible hand of the market fixes things is that it falsely thinks that laws and order made by government always make things worse, when they can be used to make society better.

Chocolate Jesus - 2012-12-31

I always miss the reply button.

Cena_mark - 2012-12-31

I used to be a libertarian. Its an appealing ideology for the rugged individualist. I know its flawed and unrealistic, but I believed in it for a good while.
And be careful in defining his beliefs as bullshit, because one day he might make an episode about your beliefs and then you'll realize you believe in Bullshit.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

I've seen all the episodes of Bullshit. Some were spot on. Some weren't. The episode about Global Warming was very poorly done and had a few things that were just not even researched and factually wrong. I even found out later on that the episode on food had quite a few problems too.

The episodes on religious/superstitious bullshit and conspiracy bullshit are usually spot on though.

I have no problem with my ideas being called out as bullshit if they are. I'm human. I can make mistakes. I'd rather admit when I'm buying into bullshit than keep believing it.

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

Libertarians aren't lawless anarchists, Tubman. They don't reject all laws, and they certainly acknowledge, and deal with, the idea that "some laws can be used to make things better". (I can't speak for all the ones you know, but if they're like that, then you have my sympathies)

The question isn't whether laws CAN make things better. It's which laws, what things, and to what degree should we be willing to concede authority to a coercive body, for those laws which do, in fact, work as designed. Within a libertarian framework, the main problem society must address isn't how to "fix" things, it's how to ensure that society remains open and strucured along mutualistic grounds, a voluntary grouping of individuals who are free from coercive violence.

Paternalists tend to view the growth of the state as a good thing, as they believe (for whatever reason) that members of the political caste are qualified to engineer systems as complex and nuanced as social dynamics or the economy; or at the very least, that the final results of their "intelligent design" approach are better than would be arrived at through more natural, blind, "evolutionary" means. The idea that society needs it's Vanguard Party of philosopher-kings is nothing new; it's been the default view for most hierarchically ordered societies all throughout human history.

But this idea only works so long as the people in charge of the state are both wise and morally pure (presumably, they must be people with the same goals, values, and group allegiance as the person advancing our paternalist argument). And who's to say that the state will work for YOUR goals, once it has been granted sweeping power? The people you put in charge today will not be the ones in charge tomorrow, and the interests they serve, the goals that they pursue, may not be the ones you had envisioned.

Now, I know that not every statist cheers at the idea of a society-as-Panopticon in which a single omnipresent monopoly doles out our justly alloted rations of knowledge, comfort, and freedom, just as not every libertarian spends his days stockpiling guns and MLP porn in preparation for the End Times. People are just as nuanced and complex as the social and economic chains they form, and our individual outlooks on the proper scope of state authority fall along a continuum: how much is too much? How little is too little? We can argue that endlessly.

I have one quick question, though: would you trust an ambitious, violent, well armed gang, *headed by a WalMart executive*, to act in your best interests? How far?

Hooker - 2012-12-31

Calling a system of elected officials "coercive" is some combination really stupid, begging the question, and a loss of perspective.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

If I have mis-characterized libertarians, then I apologize.

EvilHomer, you certainly are mis-characterizing socialism. I am not a 'statist'. Modern socialism still allows for people to have private property and wealth. They can still own things, buy things, save money, and capitalism can work with good regulation.

The goal is kind of a feedback loop. Government educates citizens so that they elect smarter people. Smarter people then make society better, which gives us better politicians down the road. Who says we can't have better regulation/control of education and infrastructure and not have a republic or even democracy?

If you make people smarter, they make smarter decisions.

And what's up with the 'wal mart' executive thing? I wouldn't trust a corporate gang to act in my best interest. That's an argument against free markets. What are you getting at?

Bort - 2012-12-31

EvilHomer, elsewhere you have spoken well of Ron Paul. May I use Ron Paul as an example of a real-world libertarian?

Ron Paul feels the Civil Rights Act was a mistake, in that it violently coerces businessmen to have commerce with niggers. So there's the problem with libertarianism in a nutshell: it is opposed to solving real-world problems caused by private citizens, if the solution involves unpopular government action.

Now, if Ron Paul is NOT a good example of a real-world libertarian, who is?

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

Tubman, certainly, socialism allows for private property and republican governments, or at least "socialism" as understood by the broadly progressive American left, the non (or post?) Marxist breed of FDR style democratic socialism. I hope I didn't give the impression tht I lumped all socialists in with the property hating pinko kind. (everyone here on poeTV is smart enough and educated enough to know that "socialism" is a term with many definitions and expressions that shift with the user)

I'd actually argue hat this makes our current definition of socialism WORSE- anti-property socialist systems, such as those espoused by the Leninists, tended to view socialism as a necessary, but temporary, evil, a period of paternalist restructuring that was just one step on the road to a communal-democratic utopia. Post-Marxist "ownership" socialism, however, tends to view itself not as a means, but as the end in and of itself; a system of (again, presumably benevolent) top-down paternalist control that will persist in perpetuity, hurtling society along a path of ever more wonderful social-Singularity.

And I don't buy that. At all. I don't believe we are getting smarter, or better educated. Nor do I believe that society has "advanced" to such a degree that we no longer need to be guided by the individualistic, anti-collectivist attitudes of the liberal enlightenment. I believe that progress, if it even exists, can only come about slowly, gradually, and as a result of organic changes arising from rational participation a totally open, totally free society. Part of this meams that knowlede and education should remain as unfiltered and uncontrolled as possible, even, yes, by wise benevolent individuals who posess objective truth (which is a state of being that I'm not convinced anyone can lay claim to). Education serves the agenda of the educator; it tends to serve the interests of power, not of truth. This is something I think any leftist can agree on. The government teaches people to lionize the government's own power (in much the same way that the church used to teach people to glorify the church). So, yes, it is a feedback loop, but on the whole it's a negative one.

Anyway, I'm probably rambling and getting off topic, education reform and my lingering scraps of Zinn-faggotry is something for a different video.

My WalMart question? Two things. One, I was just curious. It's a hypothetical question that's related to my own personal shift from being an anti-corporate Green to a dirty libertarian asshole (I could go into that, if I'm not boring you too badly already). Two, it's NOT a hypothetical question at all. Hillary Clinton, whom I believe we can all agree is a poster-girl for "US style progressive neoliberalism", as expressed by the Democratic Party and the pro-Democrat media/ public schooling industry, spent SIX YEARS on the board of directors for WalMart. Six years as one of the chief supervillains behind the most evil company in the Western hemisphere. This goes back to my point above; about how the people we are considering granting ever broader authority are not necessarily going to use that authority in our best interest. I'd be more worried about keeping checks and balances and a skeptical, independent eye on folks like Mrs ItTakesAVillage than in asking them how much power they need to "fix" our society.

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

Bort- bear with me on this, but as horrible as it sounds, I actually agree with him on that. People should have the right to freely associate with whomever they want, even if they're ignorant fucks.

Opening businesses to blacks is an ethical decision, one which should be made on a personal level, as the result of rational reflection, or moral conviction, or economic self-interest, or boredom, or what have you. Not out of fear of violence from the state should you disobey.

Sitdowns, boycotts, public awareness campaigns, these are the weapons that should be used against ignorance. Not cops, judges, and armed soldiers from the National Guard. The proper, ethical response would have been to abolish laws mandating racial segregation, use cops to prevent violence against the African American community, and let the racists be driven out of business by any more inclusive competitors.

Also, as far the Civil Rights era goes, the government was at least as much to blame as anyone else for the conditions. It was the state that barred Negros from public schools. It was the state that passed laws regulating where blacks could and could not congregate. It was the state that was responsible for the clusterfuck of Reconstruction, the state which allowed for recaptured slaves to be repatriated to their "owners", hell, it was the state that recognized and enforced slave ownership "rights" in the first place! Call me a cynic, but the state was a Johnny come lately to the "cause" of civil rights, and only did so once it became clear that it could offer a solution that increased the scope of it's own power mandate.

The biggest problem I have with Ron Paul is the fact that he's a god damn creationist.

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

(you know, I haven't even watched the video yet. Five stars for that!)

Chocolate Jesus - 2012-12-31

You did all that vain pontificating without even watching them pontificate vainly?

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

Damnit EvilHomer, you're making the same mistake Tea Baggers make.

Whether a government is far left or far right, unless it is controlled by authoritarian dictators it is the PEOPLE who are to blame or to credit for the way a government works. Government is not some magic thing that is always bad. Government can be very good if the people who control it want it to be. Government can be bad if the people let it become bad. As Mark Twain said, people get the government they deserve. Nearly all dictators have or had had nearly 100% support from the people.

Now on the other hand, look at good things a government can do if people want it. It can build infrastructure. Electric grids. It can help people to get equality. Yes, local governments wanted segregation and were racist, but a larger government did the RIGHT thing and forced equality when it had to. It wasn't going to simply happy through the 'invisible hand' of the markets, and if the federal government didn't step in it could have been another 50 to 100 years before the south integrated anything.

Suffice it to say (and this is coming from someone who has had perhaps a dozen generations of heritage in the south) you are dead wrong about the civil rights act. So is Ron Paul. I'm not going to call you racist because of those opinions, but you are pretty much blind to reality when it comes to the way it really was back then down there.

I'm not sure what you're arguing about. You keep arguing that governments are always evil but you are completely ignoring the amazing things that collective governments have done. They have built civilizations from Ancient Egypt, to Ancient Greece and Rome, all the way to modern civilizations today. We have to have a government, so why view it as some horrible thing that we should have as little of as possible. It's like looking at a soldering iron and trying to ban them because they can be used to burn you in spite of the fact that you need them to build electronic circuits. Government is a tool. Used wisely, it improves society.

And, what's with this strawman argument that modern socialists like me are going towards some utopia? Yes, we should improve society, but most socialists that I know of don't see a utopia as existing ever if at all. Even the socialist paradise of Star Trek wasn't perfect, and was riddled with ethics and philosophical questions that inexhaustible food and no more money didn't get rid of. If you ever watched it, you'd understand.

If you knew that people weren't smart, and American culture was severely lacking in education, then why remove actual standards that have to be there for children to learn. We have to have math, reading, and science standards. We have to have clear goals for students so that we know that they are graduating high school with literacy and numeracy, and at least some cognizance of basic science. Most aren't. Local governments aren't going to force this. There has to be a national collective effort to fix this.

If you knew that our infrastructure was crumbling, then how are a lot of little governments going to solve the large collective need of a very large country with 310,000,000 people? A large infrastructure network needs unity, standardization, and an overall thought as to how it will be implemented. Think of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system. Do you realize the impact of the economy that had in 20th century American History? Do you realize the impact of the economy that a massive infrastructure upgrade or education upgrade will have?

Libertarianism is like looking at a massive gold mine and refusing to get the gold out of there because it might involve a government somehow. It's like looking at this great trillion dollar fix and ignoring it because sometimes it could not work, even though sometimes it can put men on the moon.

Frankly, I think we can risk a couple of mistakes with money if we get more rewards like the Hoover Dam, Interstate Highways, Apollo Missions, Space Shuttle, etc. in the future. The good things far outweigh the bad, and as long as the people are in control of the government and collectively establish a clear and fruitful direction, a large government is not something to be feared.

Bort - 2012-12-31

"Bort- bear with me on this, but as horrible as it sounds, I actually agree with him on that. People should have the right to freely associate with whomever they want, even if they're ignorant fucks."

Strange: you believe you have the right to oppress others (where said "oppression" is keeping them a half step away from slavery), but you don't believe you have the right to be oppressed (where said "oppression" is preventing you from oppressing others but otherwise being able to enjoy life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness). I think we're at impasse.

For whatever it's worth, I don't believe personal liberties are anywhere near absolute or sacrosanct, and we all have to give a little for the good of all. If that makes me a filthy commie then peace land bread.

memedumpster - 2012-12-31

Libertarians are Republicans with an indie label, but it's the exact same bullshit. They are only anti-Fed when the Fed enforces laws that they disagree with. If the Fed oppressed women, murdered gays, and handed out free ammo as welfare, Libertarians would build churches to Moloch and seek the New World Order.

There is no reason to consider the political views of inductively observed pathological liars, because the views are irrelevant to their motive and are merely a smoke screen of distraction.

Bort - 2013-01-01

So how much longer should blacks have politely waited for whites in the South (and some in the North) to decide to change racist institutions? I ask that question in all seriousness: provide a range of years that would have been appropriate, beyond the 99 years between the Thirteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Act was wildly unpopular, but that's exactly why it was needed: because there was no way to break Jim Crow except with the horrible horrible threat of violent coercion by the mean ol' federal government. Even today, nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act, it's unpopular enough that Republicans can make hay by bitching about it, and a majority of voters weren't even alive when the Civil Rights Act was passed.

I sometimes say that the Civil Rights Act is, on a strictly political level, the worst mistake that the Democrats ever made. I express it that way because it's difficult to drive home exactly how big the Civil Rights Act was and is: it made this country much safer for minorities, but at the same time it caused a major realignment of political power (away from the Democrats and towards race-baiting Republicans, unfortunately). But it wasn't done on a whim. It wasn't done because the Democrats don't understand politics. It was done because it was the remedy of last recourse, after nearly 100 years of patience and relatively gentle pressure wasn't sufficient.

As an aside, I observe that libertarians tend to have a problem with the federal government in ways they don't with state government. That is a very telling distinction, and I don't think it has a thing to do with principles. When states' rights are championed, it is almost always because the states want the freedom to impose harsh laws on some unpopular segment of their populations. I can understand that only if it's coming from people who have no real respect for personal liberty, which is to say, I am very skeptical of libertarians who are into states' rights.

Chocolate Jesus - 2012-12-31

Theres something you're both missing - what passes for libertarianism is an attractive front operation to sell you psychotic free-market / supply side ethics.

Just look at genesis of most modern prominent libertarian think-thanks and "grass roots" organizations like the Koch founded CATO institute or the Americans for Fair Taxation group created by Texan billionaires in the 1970s -- shilled by John Stossel, Glenn Beck, Fox News, Gary Johnson, and now this fleshy sacred cow.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

If society was full of geniuses and people who could deduce a little bit of ethics every now and then without resorting to their flavor-of-the-month church, libertarianism might be able to work. It possibly could work in a society like Sweden or Norway or Iceland where people are smart enough thanks to government intervention. Possibly.

It cannot work in America. We need massive overhauls to our infrastructure and education system to revitalize the economy. That cannot happen with libertarianism. We need massive overhauls to our healthcare system and socialized medicine. That cannot happen with libertarianism. We need a more progressive tax revenue so that we have more to spend on the things we need (see above). That cannot happen with libertarianism.

Libertarianism falsely assumes that most people left to their own devices will always do the right thing and better themselves. This is a terrible assumption, and quite wrong, with American culture.

Hooker - 2012-12-31

Speaking of magical thinking, since when has every Scandinavian become somehow superhuman?

There is this bizarre cult of personality surrounding that area (Sweden and Finland in particular) - it used to belong to Japan until North America got a clearer picture of their society - that they're just doing everything far better than everyone else, and it applies to everyone that lives there. I'm certainly no expert on Scandinavian culture, and I've never been there, but I've seen enough (read: bare minimum of passing interest) to know that they're still regular human beings that cover the spectrum from brilliant wunderkinds to fucking idiots, just like anywhere else.

HarrietTubmanPI - 2012-12-31

I never said that Scandinavia was full of super humans - but they are getting government and their society right. We should pay attention to the things that work in the world and see why they work and what we can learn from them. If someone builds a high speed rail system that works and is on time - we should see what we can do to adopt it. If someone builds a better car, we should learn from them and adopt better ideas. We need to adapt more.

France is doing better things with healthcare, so why not listen.
Japan is doing better with high speed rail, so why not listen.

Hell, CHINA has mag lev trains now. Why not listen. AND LEARN.

EvilHomer - 2012-12-31

People don't have to do the "right thing". So long as they respect their neighbor's rights to life, liberty, and property, they can keep being wrong to their heart's content.

The freedom to be wrong and act against your own self interest is what makes a free society so great!

Nor do I see why we need "more progressive" tax revenue to pay for the socialized health care that will obviously work, because the government manages the VA so well. Why not just gut our prison and military budget to pay for it? Instead of bailing out banks and redistributing the wealth to corporate dinosaurs who can't sell their shitty cars on the evil free market, take that money and plop it into Medicair. Boom. Done.

Hooker- hush, you. The Swedes are gods among men. Nevermind the fact that their economy actually got worse under the auspicies of their "democratic socialist" system, or the fact that they've since scaled their progressive tax scales back to downright reactionary American levels.

Hooker - 2012-12-31

I was speaking specifically to the, "where people are smart enough thanks to government intervention" line. Scandinavian government hasn't created a smarter race of people. It's created a more educated race of people, MAYBE. But education is just one thing. It can't take people to the pinnicle of Mount Every-Decision-You-Make-Is-The-Right-One. Educated people still make their share of dumb decisions.

memedumpster - 2012-12-31

The cost of health care over time being gouged intentionally by the "free" market is what is creating the drain on Medicare, not the infrastructure which provides it.

Also, any country that gives a free education from babies first feces written words through college to its people are automatically better than this one. Education is the difference between humans and shit sucking sister raping Republicans.

chumbucket - 2012-12-31

I'm confused every time he goes to the chalk board.

Kabbage - 2012-12-31

Yeah, like... even if you follow his logic for a couple minutes, in his visual timeline of anarchy and totalitarianism, things are placed a certain distance in or out based on how much size the text inside of them takes up.

Like does the media block start at moderately totalitarian and then end at exceptionally totalitarian? Isn't it just one of those things? There should be lines leading off from certain points, pointing down to the things that exist at that level of totalitarianism.

He can't even made a drawing of what he's supposedly thinking.

longwinded - 2012-12-31

oh holy fuck there's no way I'm reading any of this vomit pile

Toenails - 2012-12-31

Five for the user named "longwinded" saying that.

Wander - 2012-12-31


Okay now you can post below me and it will be right no matter what.

Maggot Brain - 2012-12-31


MacGyver Style Bomb - 2012-12-31

Everybody pick someone you want to punch.

Cherry Pop Culture - 2013-01-01

Only one?

Jet Bin Fever - 2013-01-06

Hey now, there are plenty of punches to go around.

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