Flaws in libertarianism

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
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Riggerjack
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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:35 pm

We started with violence. Every system is enforced by violence. the state is defined by violence. History has shown a strong rule of law and property rights empowers individuals to resolve issues without violence in most cases, and requires the least violence from the state. Probably some sort of authoritarian dictatorship would be next for more violent.

And of course it's a toss up between Socialism, and hunter/gatherer/anarchy for most violent. The body count for socialism is in the high tens of millions, or low hundreds of millions, but archaeological digs show an astounding number of violent deaths in prehistory. In either case way more than dictatorships, and libertarianism doesn't even register on that scale.

I find the people most critical of libertarian concepts to also be the ones least inclined to solve their own problems. If your preferred resolution is to refer to committee, or appeal to authority, or form a coalition, individual rights and actions are more likely to be problems for you than solutions. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We need people who can function better as part of a group. However, a group working together is just another form of strength. If might makes right, numbers add might, not right. If history is any guide, numbers tend to divide right, and substitute righteousness.

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BRUTE
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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:05 am

in his old age, brute's a pretty pragmatic libertarian. for him, it basically boils down to something like this:

for any given problem X, is it better solved by free markets and individual liberty? -> prefer libertarian solution. this is the default for brute, both because it's more moral and because it's usually more efficient.

can it be demonstrated with a very high certainty and confidence that problem X is better solved by non-libertarian means? -> fine, but plz revisit decision after certain time frames because circumstances change.

is it unclear which solution is preferable? encourage small-scale experimenting, but default is libertarianism - not hitting humans and not taking their stuff just seems like a good default stance.

"failure to convince" counts as unclear. for example, this is brute's stance towards climate change. it's probably happening, it's maybe somewhat human made, but brute has not been convinced that any of the suggested government programs would be of any benefit. same for assault rifle bans. until it can be demonstrated to brute how assault rifle bans would make a difference while 90% of gun homicides involve hand guns, no action shall be taken.

appeal to anecdotes and emotional manipulation pretty much instantly disqualify. some little old lady can't get to the grocery store because she chose to live in a place that can't be served profitably by any private road building company? well, sometimes actions have consequences. why does the little old lady force the rest of the planet to suffer for her?

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by bryan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:16 am

Well, lots of folk are "libertarian in the streets, progressive in the sheets."

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Jean » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:27 am

I just tought I spent enough year thinking about these issues and wanted to see if someone was able to get trough it.
Apparently no, but I'm fine with it.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:10 am

brute also spent years trying to find the "logical explanation", then he just gave up. property really rests on rights, which rest on morality. so the answers are to be found in the philosophy department, and there certainly don't seem to be any objective or neutral answers about morality there.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:44 am

Some of the comments in here are kinda funny. I didn't think I'd ever see the "toothbrush" thing in the wild. For the record, no, communists are not interested in taking every toothbrush not currently in use. In leftist thinking, personal property (toothbrushes, residences, consumer goods) is typically not considered the same as private property (capital, productive land, means of production). The consideration of the two concepts as being exactly equivalent is rather a specific feature of capitalism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_ ... e_property

Likewise, it would be interesting to see sources for the "hundreds of millions killed by socialism". Curious whether those figures include literal Nazi propaganda like the "Holodomor" famine, in which Stalin notoriously commanded the clouds not to rain over Ukraine. Also curious why such figures are so rarely put in the context of, for instance, the 18 million who die in systemic poverty thanks to capitalism every single year. Or the 100 million African slaves and tens of millions of Native Americans killed in the name of America. I mean, I can understand not comparing the figures to libertarianism, since a libertarian nation has never existed...

On that note, I wonder why. It's a sensible enough political ideology, what could go wrong? :D

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:43 pm

that's why brute attributed the toothbrush to syndicalists and communist-anarchists, not communists ;) Spartan_Warrior needs to get his categories right :D

humans killed by socialism shouldn't be too hard. hundreds of millions brute isn't sure he can do from memory, but tens for sure.
- national socialists
- mao
- khmer rouge
- stalin

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:46 pm

Years ago, a central banker killed my partner.
libertarianism in one sentence

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Riggerjack
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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:10 pm

Likewise, it would be interesting to see sources for the "hundreds of millions killed by socialism". Curious whether those figures include literal Nazi propaganda like the "Holodomor" famine, in which Stalin notoriously commanded the clouds not to rain over Ukraine. Also curious why such figures are so rarely put in the context of, for instance, the 18 million who die in systemic poverty thanks to capitalism every single year. Or the 100 million African slaves and tens of millions of Native Americans killed in the name of America. I mean, I can understand not comparing the figures to libertarianism, since a libertarian nation has never existed...
ok.

Soviets, 61M
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/USSR.TAB1.1.GIF

Chinese: 73M
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CHINA.TABIIA.1.GIF
or 115M, depending on where you draw the lines.
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/CHINA.TAB1.1.GIF

Nazi Germany: 23.5M
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.TAB1.1.GIF

Cambodia: 4M
In proportion to its population, Cambodia underwent a human catastrophe unparalleled in this century. Out of a 1970 population of probably near 7,100,0001 Cambodia probably lost slightly less than 4,000,000 people to war, rebellion, man-made famine, genocide, politicide, and mass murder. The vast majority, almost 3,300,000 men, women, and children (including 35,000 foreigners), were murdered within the years 1970 to 1980 by successive governments and guerrilla groups. Most of these, a likely near 2,400,000, were murdered by the communist Khmer Rouge.
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP4.HTM

Post WWII Eastern Europe: 1.8M
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.TAB12.1.GIF

North Korea: 1.4M
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.TAB15.1.GIF

Now, clearly the numbers are in the 100's of millions, but there is always hair splitting to be done. Are the Chinese communists really responsible for the deaths caused by a civil war with northern warlords (sponsored and advised by Soviets)? Can't we just agree that Germany's National Socialist party were not REAL socialists? Blah, blah. So, to cut it short, lets count socialists as responsible for 1/3 of the deaths caused by socialism, you know, as if socialism could be responsible for anything. 65M in less than a century of peace and love for the common man. The other 100M we can call, what? Acceptable overhead? Whatever.

By any count, the high tens of millions is a reasonable approximation. And by whatever definition of Socialist you use, it still fails on the opposite side from Libertarian. When you empower the state, rather than the individual, it inevitably leads to death of citizens. It doesn't matter if the state leader is called Der Fuhrer, Uncle Joe, or Franklin Roosevelt.
Also curious why such figures are so rarely put in the context of, for instance, the 18 million who die in systemic poverty thanks to capitalism every single year. Or the 100 million African slaves and tens of millions of Native Americans killed in the name of America.
Yeah, I got it, you have a bit of progressive inspired self loathing. It's natural. I did too. As you get more experience in the world, it gets better. The key is to not compare apples to oranges, as I just did above. Nobody knows how many of those ~165M would have died violent deaths without socialism. There is going to be death in any revolution, and my preference would be to just avoid revolution. But I'm soft like that.

The ugly truth is that poverty is the natural human experience. The vast majority of history is just a few leaders and masses of the impoverished led. That we are down to only 18M/year dying in poverty out of a global population of 7B is a success. Yes, it could be better, but if that's all it is, then it is the end of a long line of improvement! Capitalism is the only force consistently improving the lives of common men. Though I have high hopes for birth control putting us over the top.

But the real reason, when talking about Libertarianism, we don't compare the Socialist death toll with the 18M who die in poverty, or slave deaths, or Native American deaths, is nobody is endorsing reintroducing Slavery. Nobody is endorsing 19th century Indian policies, (although we still fund a BIA to keep pushing Native Americans to sell reservation resources to corporations.). Nobody is endorsing increasing poverty, with the eventual goal of pushing up deaths by poverty. Yet, there is a constant push for more Socialist solutions. As though we didn't have a century of experience to map out exactly where that leads. Death. Poverty. Environmental Disaster. But hey, everyone get an equal share! :roll:

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Riggerjack
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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Riggerjack » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:12 pm

BTW, my links from above are to a website of an author of a book based on death by government. He is anything but a neutral source. But then, I have a hard time thinking anyone who categorizes all the deaths caused by different forms of government could rationally stay neutral on the subject.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:34 pm

*Puts quarter in laptop to activate keyboard.* :D

@Riggerjack:

As I suspected, RJ Rummel is the source of your figures. His numbers are shaky to say the least. More on that, and an attempt at comparing capitalism to communism using a similar methodology here: http://www.petersaysstuff.com/2014/05/a ... eath-toll/

(I do see you replied before me to note he may not be the most reliable source.)
But the real reason, when talking about Libertarianism, we don't compare the Socialist death toll with the 18M who die in poverty, or slave deaths, or Native American deaths, is nobody is endorsing reintroducing Slavery.
By this same reasoning, when most of us are talking about socialism, nobody is endorsing reintroducing the gulag, either. If you're going to tout sensationally inflated numbers that include deaths tangentially related to any policy or circumstance that occurred under socialist governments, it seems fair to do the same for capitalist ones. If communism caused bread lines in Havana, then capitalism takes the blame for lead water in Detroit. If socialism as an ideology is responsible for the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, then capitalism (or even libertarianism specifically with its emphasis on property rights, which of course was the justification of slavery) may as well be held responsible for slavery, poverty, robber barons paying pennies to eight-fingered kids to work 18 hours in a factory that dumps sludge in their drinking water, etc.

So, I don't think I'm comparing apples to oranges any more than you or Rummel. If anything, my position is more that such broad-brush strokes tend to ignore significant nuance on either side. It's the same kind of error I see in statements like this...
Capitalism is the only force consistently improving the lives of common men.
...which seems unjustifiable IMO when applied to a firm understanding of what capitalism, specifically, actually is. It could be argued that the industrial and technological revolutions have improved the lives of common men greatly, as has the globalization and trade that's resulted from the era of nation-states. Capitalism was the historical path of most of the western world to reaching this state, but it does not strike me as an intrinsic or necessary factor.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by bryan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:05 pm

Spartan_Warrior wrote:Some of the comments in here are kinda funny. I didn't think I'd ever see the "toothbrush" thing in the wild. For the record, no, communists are not interested in taking every toothbrush not currently in use. In leftist thinking, personal property (toothbrushes, residences, consumer goods) is typically not considered the same as private property (capital, productive land, means of production). The consideration of the two concepts as being exactly equivalent is rather a specific feature of capitalism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_ ... e_property
Thanks for pointing to where you are coming from! That link is kinda funny to me (being raised in the USA). No wonder some socialists come across so looney with what they are saying.. very opposed definitions. It certainly seems like the capitalist equivalence of the two terms is more logical. For instance, how to classify 1) my brain 2) my hands 3) my computer 4) my energy/thermal storage (e.g. full batteries). Obviously I used the personal possessive here... but all of these could be seen as means of production..

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:46 pm

This subject reminds me of Ego's objection wrt living according to label theory. Specifically, the problem of this thread arguing theoretical constructs which are black and white via the use of practical examples which tend to be gray.

This creates a high risk of attribution error!!

Fun fact: One of the questions on the US civics/citizen test is about what the economics system of the US is? The test-answer you need to provide is something along the lines of "capitalist market economy" which is technically correct but also rather one-dimensional. If you ask the average American about what the economics system of the EU is, the answer will likely be something along the lines of "socialism", similarly crude. However, the US government eats up 37% or so of US GDP whereas the generic EU country government eats up 47% of their respective GDP. Based on numbers, the two systems have far more things in common than they have differences. They're a lot closer to each other than they are to 0% or 100% and differences come down to details. However, for ideological differences, we must insist that differences are grave when it comes to theory and correctly answering test questions.

I think labels are excellent when it comes to trying to frame a question in the hope that it might explain something [that one might otherwise be unaware of]. However, I think (and agree with Ego) that it's not smart use it to constrain a strategy rather than to expand the inquiry.

This [way of thinking] of course has material impacts. For example, if you ask most Americans a series of questions in order to determine what kind of health care system they'd prefer, it turns out that most Americans essentially wants in practice what is a single-payer system that draws enough services from the private sector to prevent public system waste and enough services from the public sector to prevent private sector profit-seeking. Basically a system where individuals don't have to pay $50/pill for aspirin or $700/pill for rare diseases once some fratboy manages to corner the patent market, nor $10000 for an MRI trip but neither a system where everybody gets a "full scholarship ride" whenever they sneeze or sprains their pinkie. In other words,the average American actually wants a European (or Canadian or Japanese, etc.) system. However, in the US, such a system is known as "socialism" and therefore inconceivably unpossible (even if it is technically a mixed-economy scheme)---we can't have it. So here we are with the mess we have because while we want a certain thing, actually having it would require some ideological concessions. IOW, there's an ideological brand-barrier that prevents the desired solution because we're compelled to demand a solution-structure according to our theoretical ideology even if it's not optimal.

The way I've come to think about such brands ... or frameworks is ... to apply them where they're pragmatic; and in the instances where they aren't I apply another framework.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:56 pm

I just tought I spent enough year thinking about these issues and wanted to see if someone was able to get trough it.
Apparently no, but I'm fine with it.
I think the roadblock you have is confusing how the world (1)*Is*, with (2)how it *should be*, with (3)how humans *pretend* it is for practical purposes.

Libertarianism is best understood as part of that third category. 1)The universe at large doesn't care how you came to "own" something. Either you stole it, someone gave it to you, or you got it in exchange for currency that you obtained through labor. 2)You "should" get to keep what you earn so long as you didn't hurt someone or take something they didn't want to give you. But, if you have eminent domain, it still could be yours. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain
3)If we didn't agree somehow that individuals have certain property rights, no functional economy could exist. Why would anyone manufacture anything or provide any service to strangers if there was nothing to *exchange* because neither party owned anything to exchange?

Libertarianism is, like money, a very practical fiction. Useful, but not Universal.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:29 pm

jacob wrote:Basically a system where individuals don't have to pay $50/pill for aspirin or $700/pill for rare diseases once some fratboy manages to corner the patent market, nor $10000 for an MRI
this has zero to do with free markets but with patents and other IP. these are state-imposed monopolies on thought that are rejected by serious libertarians.

the sad truth about health care is that it doesn't matter if single payer, free market, or ACA, it's expensive and it sucks. the different systems just shift the cost around, but it can't be magically wished away. the secret to cheap health care is to have a young population of physically active humans that eat a traditional diet, sleep a lot, and have great social structure and healthy family relations. good luck putting that in the AHCA or whatever they are calling it now.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by ThisDinosaur » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:08 pm

the sad truth about health care is that it doesn't matter if single payer, free market, or ACA, it's expensive and it sucks. the different systems just shift the cost around
A healthcare system in a completely free market, libertarian country would look like this:

Cost of an ER visit, an MRI, or medications would be market driven. People would mostly pay out of pocket so the most expensive services would be cheaper than in our system. Some future-minded people might join up into Mutual Insurance companies and pool the risk of catastrophic illnesses. But, if you couldn't afford to pay, there would be no government-enforced consequences for refusing care to the poor and uninsured. Doctors and hospitals wouldn't fear losing licensure and accreditation for telling broke poor people with hemorrhaging knife wounds to get lost.

I think its worth asking why we don't have a system like that.
Last edited by ThisDinosaur on Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by jacob » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:11 pm

@brute

First paragraph: It's a combination thereof. If there's only one provider of the $700/pill option, then that's a monopoly. It'll go as high as it needs to until someone else steps in with a supply because someone can afford the demand. If any of that isn't happening, the market is inefficient and someone will find themselves under the bus. Easy as that. Libertarianism would argue, then, that it's not the responsibility of some overeducated medical worker to commit Karoshi to alleviate that particular market inefficiency until some other random person or persons with genetic or behavioral issues can afford to pay them. And socialism or some other motivated ideology would argue otherwise. Or maybe optimistic millenials would argue this as a case of reading a book resulting in building an app that just 3d-prints the required pill via express shipping.

Second paragraph: Totally agree. I just offered health care as an example of really wanting round pegs but insisting that they be squared and hammered into square holes. IOW, ideology.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by BRUTE » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:50 pm

brute's hate-thing about health care is that the word entangles all kinds of things. for example, humans seem to love "coverage", not actual services provided. coverage means nothing, it's monopoly money.

the health care system needs to disentangle subsidies and insurance. these are different things. the whole "pre-existing condition" circus is ridiculous - insurance against something the patient already has? proverbial house on fire insurance, only lifetime medical costs are in many cases more expensive than houses.

brute isn't against subsidizing group X (where X is the poor, the elderly, the veterans, the children, the sick, whoever) in principle. brute would certainly appreciate help if he fell on hard times, and he's ok with spending some extra money while he's got it.

but confusing the subsidy part with the insurance part is a terrible idea. now, healthy humans need to be forced by law (individual mandate) to participate in a losing system (for them). they'd only need the insurance part, yet the system would crash if they didn't subsidize the other humans. the subsidized humans feel entitled because they "paid in", even though they're effectively siphoning money off the healthy ones.

in the end, this doesn't lead to more health for anyone. it leads to a polarized society where half the humans accuse the other of death panels or hating the poor and sick and elderly.

the insurance part of health care would be extremely cheap, as the really expensive treatments are very rare. treatments that are required by 10% of the population (type 2 diabetes) the premiums would be VERY high or it would be uninsurable, especially with risk markers present.

medical establishment and individuals have zero incentive to actually fix health problems like sugar consumption if they don't have to pay for them. they know they'll be subsidized, and so they swallow the lies that the medical establishment tells them. yes, almost anyone with type 2 diabetes could bring the condition completely under control with diet within one month, unless they've injected insulin for years and have taken permanent damage. yet it counts as a miracle if it happens.

brute does not care to subsidize lung cancer treatment for smokers, and he does not care to subsidize insulin for sugar junkies.

brute is actually in favor of the new Republican health care bill, just because it deregulates a few things and decentralizes the whole affair to the states via block grants (if that's making it through). the system before ACA was shit, ACA is a band-aid on top of shit.

brute is aware nothing major is ever going to happen, but he can't sympathize with these emotionally manipulative health care bullshit stories the liberals love to spout. just as inane as when religious nut jobs go on about abortion being murder.

tl;dr: libertarians have the best answers to almost all problems, but they're never going to get implemented because humans are dumb and greedy.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Dragline » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:01 pm

Spartan_Warrior wrote:*Puts quarter in laptop to activate keyboard.* :D


Capitalism is the only force consistently improving the lives of common men.
Yeah, this crown really goes to sanitation and antibiotics, but mostly sanitation. Modern sanitation is only made possible by the post 1800 industrial complex, though.

This is why for most of the world, this is truly a Golden Era, as poverty and starvation has declined over the past few decades almost to the point of eradication in areas not afflicted by wars. Brought to you by a combination of world health organizations, charities and cooperative governments.

Libertarianism is definitely a "First World" issue if there ever was such a thing. And because it is based entirely on theoretical constructs (praxeology), it offers little or nothing to anyone who values evidence and data.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Dragline » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:09 pm

jacob wrote:The way I've come to think about such brands ... or frameworks is ... to apply them where they're pragmatic; and in the instances where they aren't I apply another framework.
To quote Ed McMahon: YOU - are correct, SIR!

The best system is simply one that looks at the current results an adapts appropriately, and with a different model if the current one is not working so well.

We should demand that our systems be run like gardens (variable -- weeding and watering) and not buildings (set down edifice and demand compliance around pre-existing structure). This is the basic consequence of taking complexity theory to heart.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Dragline » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:22 pm

ThisDinosaur wrote:

Libertarianism is best understood as part of that third category. 1)The universe at large doesn't care how you came to "own" something. Either you stole it, someone gave it to you, or you got it in exchange for currency that you obtained through labor. 2)You "should" get to keep what you earn so long as you didn't hurt someone or take something they didn't want to give you. But, if you have eminent domain, it still could be yours. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminent_domain
3)If we didn't agree somehow that individuals have certain property rights, no functional economy could exist. Why would anyone manufacture anything or provide any service to strangers if there was nothing to *exchange* because neither party owned anything to exchange?

Libertarianism is, like money, a very practical fiction. Useful, but not Universal.
I think its better understood by its fundamental Aristotlan assumption, which is that "man is a rational animal", and therefore should be held to that standard in all places and at all times.

So it becomes what amounts to the Just World hypothesis, which blames people for bad outcomes when they do not act completely rationally. But discounts random factors as meaningless and bad judgement or mistakes as essentially immoral.

Which is, of course, highly appealing to the rationally focused beings that inhabit this forum.

Libertarianism is built on the fiction of praxeology and the idea that empirical data DOES NOT MATTER. Von MIses said so himself. If you do not believe in the ABSOLUTE TRUTH in the Aristotlian assumptions about human nature, it has very little value.

This is why Ayn Rand said repeatedly that her philosophy was based on on Aristotle and nothing else.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Dragline » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:27 pm

ThisDinosaur wrote:
the sad truth about health care is that it doesn't matter if single payer, free market, or ACA, it's expensive and it sucks. the different systems just shift the cost around
A healthcare system in a completely free market, libertarian country would look like this:

Cost of an ER visit, an MRI, or medications would be market driven. People would mostly pay out of pocket so the most expensive services would be cheaper than in our system. Some future-minded people might join up into Mutual Insurance companies and pool the risk of catastrophic illnesses. But, if you couldn't afford to pay, there would be no government-enforced consequences for refusing care to the poor and uninsured. Doctors and hospitals wouldn't fear losing licensure and accreditation for telling broke poor people with hemorrhaging knife wounds to get lost.

I think its worth asking why we don't have a system like that.
What is worth asking is why this system does not exist anywhere in the world. And the answer is obvious -- there is no demand curve on DEATH. When you are going to die or think a loved one will, then you spend everything. And probably die anyway and everyone who participated goes broke.

Health care is not a "good" that can be modeled in the traditional supply/demand curve model, which means the model fails.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Dragline » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:34 pm

BRUTE wrote:
jacob wrote:Basically a system where individuals don't have to pay $50/pill for aspirin or $700/pill for rare diseases once some fratboy manages to corner the patent market, nor $10000 for an MRI
this has zero to do with free markets but with patents and other IP. these are state-imposed monopolies on thought that are rejected by serious libertarians.
This assertion is ill-informed and wrong. In fact, companies seek to monopolize old drugs that are not popular to increase profits. (See Valeant business model).

I have this problem which colchicine, a medication for gout which is one of the oldest ever created. It used to cost cents a pill. Now it costs dollars, because control has been monopolized. And the old drug is being taken off my insurance. I may just start growing the damn plant myself.

Excuse my french, but you really don't know what the fuck you are talking about. Do some research, boy, and prove me wrong. Or admit you are wrong and simply ignorant.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by ThisDinosaur » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:26 am

I think its better understood by its fundamental Aristotlan assumption, which is that "man is a rational animal".
And that humans have mainly "purposeful" behavior, as opposed to the reflexive, thoughtless behavior of *lower* organisms. I agree completely with you Dragline, that this is not a description of reality.

My assertion is that the OP's cognitive dissonance comes from using Libertarian principles as an explanation for reality, as opposed to a useful model like brute and Jacob are discussing. Jean dislikes violence, but thinks people have inalienable rights. This causes cognitive dissonance because "rights" are a subjective opinion that have to be enforced. Enforcement is force. Once you accept that "rights" are a useful model of society, and not an inherent component of the universe, its easy to understand how people can come to violently disagree about who owns what and on what authority.

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Re: Flaws in libertarianism

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:53 am

bryan wrote:It certainly seems like the capitalist equivalence of the two terms is more logical. For instance, how to classify 1) my brain 2) my hands 3) my computer 4) my energy/thermal storage (e.g. full batteries). Obviously I used the personal possessive here... but all of these could be seen as means of production..
1 and 2 would be extensions of a human body, which is never considered property (at least not in leftist thinking, capitalism notwithstanding). 3 and 4 would be considered personal property in almost every circumstance unless your ownership of the computer and batteries somehow exploits the labor of someone else. The critical difference IMO between personal vs. private property is the relationship between the owner and any other people who work, maintain, or use the resource.

Example A:
Personal property: You own a computer in your house which you personally paid for and maintain, and you use it to produce T-shirts or something.
Private property: Additionally, you set up a second computer in the town square, activated by quarters, libertarian-style. Others in town can use it, but only on the terms you set, which may include paying you a premium for anything produced with it, etc.

Example B:
Personal property: A garden that feeds you and your family that you cultivate directly. You keep or sell all the produce you picked yourself, gaining only the fruits of your own labor.
Private property: Acres and acres of productive farm land cultivated by wage laborers. You keep all the produce they picked for you and pay them a wage less than the value of that productivity, allowing you to also keep the overhead (aka profit) from their labor.

As can be seen from these examples, "means of production" typically has a more specific connotation than merely, say, a work bench or set of personal tools (e.g. computer), although those can indeed produce things. There is some ambiguity here, naturally, and varying opinions as to where the line is drawn. As Jacob said, real life is typically shades of gray, not absolutes. Here at ERE for instance we talk about substituting "consumption with production" typically in the context of self-sufficient homesteading. Well, I personally wouldn't consider a homestead to be means of production or private property in the leftist sense of the terms. A factory farm, though? Absolutely.

I don't want to digress too far into socialist theory in this thread. I only wanted to counter or give context to what I perceived to be a few examples of misinformation. Besides, libertarianism ought to be able to stand on its own feet rather than being solely defined as oppositional to toothbrush-thieving killer commies.

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