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Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:33 pm
by Bankai
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:14 pm
People can still commit suicide with pills, or kill a domestic partner with a knife, baseball bat, or poison.
Obviously. But the more lethal and irreversible the tool is, well, the more lethal and irreversible it is, no? So it's a perfectly reasonable assumption that a (potentially large) part of these deaths could've been avoided if the tool used was a knife or a pill.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:41 pm
by jacob
@Bankai - George Friedman, formerly of Stratfor, concurs. The US has two oceans worth of moat. Also see the UK, very hard to invade, despite just being a "channel" away. Basically, it's geography.

I think it was briefly mentioned in the video I posted, but another big fear factor for the average American is the local TV news. It shows almost nothing but various local crimes repeated over and over. Anything from murders, robbers, ... to fraud and unreported pedophiles. This comes complete with pictures of the suspect (in the US, it is legal to show mugshots of people arrested as well as surveillance tapes) and the same story can run several times a day until something new happens. The only other thing the local news tends to feature is if the local car-dealer has an open house or there is a county fair or maybe the local HS basketball team made the regionals. Oh yeah, houses on fire are also popular as is anything else that might possibly remotely(*) kill "you" <insert mandatory> "and your loved ones". Typically these are followed by some announcement about a collection for the family or otherwise just the tired old "thoughts and prayers".

(*) For example, recently a big issue was made out of the first case of West Nile virus in Chicago complete with various "safety advice". Nevermind that this has affected a total of 3 (THREE!) people out of 15 million people living in the area.

Basically, "if it bleeds, it leads". And if it doesn't, they'll just rerun the blood from yesterday.

IOW, if you watch the local news 2-3 times a day (and keep in mind that these stations have a facebook presence, so if you don't catch it on TV, someone will probably share the local gas station fraudster or whatever on facebook) ... it's very very easy to come to believe that the world out there essentially consists of nothing but murder and mayhem that constantly strikes random people.

This is completely different from the TV news I remember from Europe (haven't watched any for some 20 years, so ...).

I must admit that frankly I've been somewhat infected with the paranoia as well. I think part of it is that unlike Europe, the consequences in the US are higher. As noted above, the chance of getting murdered in the US is some 4-6x+ higher than in Europe, because of the much larger number of guns. If you get robbed in Europe, it'll be shocking/traumatic, but most Europeans probably don't think of a robbery as some place where they might lose their lives. In the US, it's a real possibility. Another difference is that until recently, the weather/nature in Europe rarely if ever kills anyone. Whereas in the US, it's actually hard to find an area that's completely free of any kind of natural disaster: hurricanes, tornado, flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, snow/ice storms. How likely are these? Well, it happens regularly enough (and is of course widely reported) so people feel some effect.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:33 pm
by 7Wannabe5
jacob wrote:... it's very very easy to come to believe that the world out there essentially consists of nothing but murder and mayhem that constantly strikes random people.
I think what "out there" entails also makes a difference. For instance, even if an individual started out with a neutral perspective, but then only was "out there" for the walking distance between locked home and locked car most of the time, the physiological feedback would inform "Danger!" OTOH, making yourself do something semi-idiotic, like ride a decrepit bicycle through an objectively-rated very dangerous neighborhood, can give you a real time buzz of Freedom/Power!

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:36 pm
by Stahlmann
Fewer wars? Cmon.
Tell this to people in the middle East...

To general idea of this topic, small mental exercise:
Change libertarianism/capitalism to communism/socialism.
Re read the topic. Interesting, isn't it?!

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:45 pm
by ZAFCorrection
Bankai wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:29 am
The country that never experienced invading army on its mainland or despotic government (post-independence).
Minor correction: Washington D.C. was occupied for about a day by the British during the War of 1812. :D

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:03 pm
by Bankai

An undertaking similarly successful as that of Polish army (under Napoleon) occupying Moscow that very year... :)

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:35 pm
Bankai wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:33 pm
brute doesn't know much about suicide rates, and frankly thinks suicide is ok. but he did a search for a comparison of countries by suicide rate, and the US doesn't seem to be an outlier. below Switzerland, France, Finnland, and Sweden, above Germany, Denmark, Argentina, and Laos. ... y-country/

Americans might choose to commit suicide by gun because guns are readily available. but apparently, this availability of firearms does not seem to translate into higher suicide rates.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:40 pm
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:20 am
BRUTE wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:44 pm
aristocrats (wtf)
brute laughed out loud when he saw this reply. can Mister Imperceptible talk about his perspective? brute finds it, if he is honest, pretty absurd to prefer aristocracy. but he's interested in hearing more about different types of libertarianism.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:09 pm
by Mister Imperceptible

You’ll have to forgive me for posting links to previous posts. If my ideas are half-baked, I want to spare myself the embarrassment of writing them down twice.

An aristocracy. Ideally would be based on honor. “Honor is a gift man gives to himself”:


But seeing such a model is antiquated, I sometimes think of other reasons for an aristocracy. And it depends on my mood when you ask me.

If I’m feeling misanthropic (I feel an especial misanthropic glee when I read @sclass’s posts in the “Friendships Changing” thread) it is because I am exhausted by the stupidity or dishonesty of people:


If I’m being philosophical, it’s because I wonder if any degree of true equality is possible because of Pareto distributions. Perhaps hierarchies and changing power distributions are an unavoidable part of natural law:


Maybe even, we are well past the carrying capacity of the planet, and the powers that be are intentionally turning up the difficulty level to “squeeze” the population downward:


(Though I highly doubt the powers that be are that smart or well-organized.) Even if a legal aristocracy were desirable, I doubt the usurpers would be any better than the current oligarchs:


But even then, a legal aristocracy formalized by law would probably be horrific (Part 2, Chapter VII, Section 2- Shigalov on the division of society into nine-tenths and one-tenth....“I start with unlimited freedom and end with unlimited despotism.”): ... m#H2CH0012

Really, I do not have a practical suggestion for society’s ills. Hard to convince me to have belief in something, whether that something be peers, elders, government, financial and educational institutions, or even any ideal:


I see violence as hardwired in our DNA:


And so I hope we can colonize space before we destroy ourselves. (Though I don’t know if that’s just an abstract goal to distract myself from The Absurd):


I do not want people to suffer needlessly, but I cannot be convinced that a philosophy that emphasizes the minimization of all suffering is optimal for the future trajectory of mankind:


So philosophically I end up in an endless circle, it seems.

“If Stavrogin believes, he does not believe that he believes. And if he does not believe, he does not believe that he does not believe.”

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:38 pm
by daylen
We may have an aristocracy ruled by a general AI before too long.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:59 pm
by Mister Imperceptible

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:26 am
by Riggerjack
seems to brute like Riggerjack has 3 main concerns with libertarianism:
1)it is difficult to communicate
2)it takes culture for granted
3)it will not work

briefly, brute thinks that:

1)it is difficult to communicate, and will therefore never reach a critical mass (~10%) of humans, just like any complicated idea. the only way to get 10%+ of the population to buy anything is with brainwashing.
2)brute would say it is more culture agnostic. there are right libertarians, conservative libertarians, left libertarians, progressive libertarians, anarchists of all types, aristocrats (wtf), hippies... libertarianism is agnostic to culture.
3)libertarianism as a political ideology will not work (because of 1) and 2). but libertarianism in practice works all the time - if Riggerjack just looks around, almost all the things that "work" work because they are (accidentally) libertarian.

therefore brute is confused about Riggerjack's discontent with libertarianism. of course there will never be a majority libertarian party or a libertarian president.

but libertarianism in practice is spreading and making humans happier and healthier and wealthier all the time.

brute has long abandoned the idea of being a libertarian political activist. the only ideas that work in politics are short, repeated often, and too simple to contain any real meaning.

but despite all that, brute is still at heart a libertarian.

Riggerjack's, of all humans', rejection of libertarianism because "it will never be popular" strikes brute as absurd. Riggerjack seems like a prototypical individual, uncaring if any of his opinions are popular. what's different about libertarianism that makes Riggerjack yearn for acceptance by the popular majority?
It is amazing how many words we have to type out to agree... :D yes, it works on an individual level very well, but is too demanding of individuals to ever work as a political system. So for me, the challenge is cultural, not political. And as I get older, I am more cautious about actual unintended consequences (as opposed to the political unintended consequences, which seems to be the term used for the effects of policy changes that inevitably match up with the criticism of said policy change, at the time the change was proposed. I am still confused about how that makes such consequences, "unintended".). The more I learn about cultural programming, the less confident I am in large changes.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:06 pm
by Campitor
Since murder rates were brought up in this thread, I decided to look at US murder rates: (2016/includes Puerto Rico and DC): ... es/table-3
  • States with murder rates of 2.0 or below per 10,000: Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine.
  • States with murder rates between 2.1 and 3.9 per 10,000: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming.
  • Worst offenders in the 4.0+ per 10,000 category: Alabama (8.4), District of Columbia (20.4), Illinois (8.2), Louisiana (11.8), Maryland (8.0), Mississippi (8.0), Missouri, (8.8), Puerto Rico (19.9).

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:12 am
by IlliniDave ... 1980-peak/

The total murder rate is about half what it was in 1980, though alarmingly starting in about 2014 it's been creeping back up. The stats aren't in the link but I think it is still very much an urban-dominated problem.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:11 am
by Campitor

While 1 murder is 1 too many, if you look at it from a different perspective, the murder rate in percentages is low. Total US murders in 2016 was 0.005% (17250 murders per 323.4 million inhabitants). But shame on Congress (they control DC) to allow the highest murder rate in their own backyard. And as you pointed out - if you stay out of metropolitan areas, murder rates drop significantly. And what the charts also don't show is the % of murders per city neighborhood. I'm sure that each US city has a neighborhood/district that accounts for the majority of the murders.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:37 am
by 7Wannabe5
In "Killing the Competition", Martin Daly indicates that murder rates are higher in urban and/or Southern locations in the U.S. Oddly, based on this book and some of my other reading, it seems like this may be in good part due to the legacy of the honor-blood-duel code of the early aristocracy of Virginia. Also could explain why D.C. rate is super-high. The culture in the Northern U.S. was more influenced by pacifist Quakers.

I see this all the time when I teach very multi-cultural youth. For instance, the boys from villages in Yemen will often instantly engage if insult is offered, but the fighting is never taken very seriously, and often the initiative for offer of insult is invitation to fight. OTOH, the code of most modern U.S. school systems is that all fighting is wrong and it does not matter who started the fight or what provocation was offered, in alignment with Quaker heritage.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:38 pm
by Mister Imperceptible
Thinking about the themes from pages 4 and 5 of the “Swiss vote to end fractional reserve banking” thread:

And pages 12 and 13 of the “Jordan Peterson” thread:

I thought I would share a link to the writings from Tony Deden’s investment fund. It reads like a libertarian handbook:

This entry in particular articulates better than I could some of my feelings regarding “religiosity,” the relationship between the US and Europe, and what I see as a decline in honesty, purpose, and the sovereignty of the individual: ... al-010.pdf

Thanks @black_son_of_grey for sharing the video thru which I discovered Deden.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:52 am
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:37 am
In "Killing the Competition", Martin Daly indicates that murder rates are higher in urban and/or Southern locations in the U.S. Oddly, based on this book and some of my other reading, it seems like this may be in good part due to the legacy of the honor-blood-duel code of the early aristocracy of Virginia. Also could explain why D.C. rate is super-high. The culture in the Northern U.S. was more influenced by pacifist Quakers.
or maybe it's just cities and gang culture. Chicago, NYC in the 80s, LA.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:38 pm
by Jin+Guice
Coming over here from this: viewtopic.php?f=7&p=174781&sid=412cfe9d ... 44#p174781 thread and a discussion @brute and I were having about economics. I was somewhat surprised no one asked the libertarians what they thought about some known problems with markets. Externalities, in the context of pollution, were discussed but no other market failures were mentioned.

However, after reading this thread I realize brute is not a student of neoclassical economics but a student of Austrian economics. I am a student of neoclassical economics, though I am far from an authority on the subject. I am not however a student of Austrian economics. I had assumed that the market brute was discussing was commensurate with the neoclassical market but now I'm not sure that it is. I think a brief description of the neoclassical theory is necessary so we can get on the same page with what we're talking about.

The neoclassical model is math heavy, though it is usually introduced with as little math as possible. It is also based on several assumptions or axioms. I believe it is modeled this way because economics very much wants to be a hard science and hard sciences are based on axiomatic principles. Axioms are generally expressed in math, which is itself axiomatic and internally consistent. Unfortunately, using math makes it somewhat inaccessible.

It is possible to express the axioms in words but this is less precise than the math. We were discussing the "more is better" axiom in the aforementioned thread. This axiom says that, given a choice, a consumer always prefers (or at worst is indifferent between) having more of an item to having less of it. Brute pointed out that this is an observation is not a prescription, which is the intent of the axiom. It is important to note that this axiom must hold in order for the model to work, which in a round about way makes it sort of prescriptive. In so much as we accept the capitalist system based on neoclassical economics as our national religion it also becomes prescriptive and moralizing. However, the intent of the model is not to be prescriptive or moralizing.

The goal of the neoclassical model is to describe how prices for goods are determined. The process by which prices are determined is an exchange amongst rational actors that results in the Pareto optimal solution for all actors. A Pareto optimal solution is a solution where it is not possible to make any actor better off without making another actor worse off. The assumptions are set up such that when a consumer maximizes "utility" (aka happiness) and a producer maximizes profit a Pareto optimum is reached.

In my mind there are 3 flaws with this theory. The first is "market failures" which essentially means that an assumption is violated. There are several market failures, of which the most well known is an externality. The most well known externality is pollution. An externality is a cost incurred outside of the primary transaction. This cost is not included in the price. Neither producers or consumers pay for the cost of pollution and it is thus inflicted on a 3rd party who does not benefit from the transaction. It is important to note that the occurrence of a market failure does not imply that a market solution is not the best solution. It means that the Pareto optimal solution will not be reached for all actors. This could mean the market solution is not the best solution, but it does not have to.

The second flaw is utility theory. Market failures may be inclusive of this as it is a break down in the assumptions that make utility maximization hold, which is in turn required for the market equilibrium to be reached, but I'm not sure if the terminology applies here or not. The long and short of the break down of utility theory is that it can be relatively easily shown that humans are not rational actors. This is the domain of behavioral economics. If anyone is familiar with Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky's work, they address these problems.

The third flaw is the Pareto optimality condition. Remember this is intrinsic to the model, the Pareto optimal solution is the desired solution. However, Pareto optimal solutions are not concerned with distribution. A solution where I have everything and you have nothing is Pareto optimal as it is impossible to make you better off without taking something from me. This solution is untenable and not very interesting. However, a solution where I have most things and you have very few things can also be Pareto optimal. We can even trade and both become better off. However, you may not like this solution. This is my argument against those who say that distributional effects don't matter if we are all better off.

I haven't made a strong case for any of these flaws. Frankly, it's going to take a bit of research on my part to refresh my memory on the mechanics of each problem.

Is there any part of this that doesn't make sense to anyone interested in this debate? Is there any part of the theory someone would like me to go into in more detail? Does anyone know how the Austrian market theory is different?

It is my understanding that libertarians believe that the market should be the governing economic paradigm and that no government intervention is needed. Thus an assertion that the market is flawed in a way that government intervention is necessary would be an attack on libertarianism. Is this thinking correct?

Before I launch my attack on libertarianism I'd like to make sure we're on the same page and discussing the same thing. I argue a lot of Marxists IRL and we never get anywhere because neither of us have any idea what the other person is talking about. I've partially shown my hand with the "3 flaws" but my intent is to show where I'm going with the hopes that everyone understands where I'm coming from.

Re: in which brute says things about libertarianism

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:03 am
by BRUTE failure

Austrian economics is not based on reaching a pareto optimal solution. there are discussions within Austrian economics about market failures like pollution. generally, Austrians like to point out how some of these have been solved successfully without government intervention (e.g. through technology or private coordination) and how some have been unsuccessful despite government intervention. i.e. Austrians like to demonstrate that government intervention is neither necessary nor sufficient in many of these cases.

brute personally would concede that there are probably situations in which there currently exists no better market solution than a government solution, if only because he is a skeptic and because of various political theories he also holds.

2.utility theory/rational humans

Austrian economics is not at all based on utility or maximization thereof, and in fact Austrians like to ridicule utilitarianism and inter-human comparison of value (e.g. brute likes steak more than Jin+Guice likes his grandmother - this comparison does not make any sense in the Austrian worldview).

instead, Austrian economics is based on an internal scale of personal preferences: if given the choice, which choice would a human make? each subsequent pick would by definition yield lower marginal value (~have less utility to this human). the main point of difference is really that there is no comparison of "utils" between humans, and preferences are ordinal, not cardinal. thus it cannot be said that brute likes steaks 3x and coffee 2x, only that brute, in this situation, prefers steak to coffee.

through this, Austrian economics completely avoids the whole "humans aren't rational DERP" straw man critique of neoclassical economics. there is no arguing if brute is "rational" by preferring steak to coffee, it's just a description of brute. if brute has "irrational" preferences, Austrian economics does not have any problems with that. in fact, brute would say that "rational" in the sense used against neoclassical economics (homo economicus) is completely orthogonal to Austrian economics. Austrians (e.g. Mises) still use the word "rational", but they mean something else - they refer to the ability of an individual actor to pursue his goals. a human who enjoys chocolate and therefore buys chocolate is rational. a human who hates chocolate and still buys it would be irrational, unless it was e.g. a gift to another human.

brute has had a lengthy discussion with a forum member here years ago, because the other party got hung up on Mises' use of the word "rational". brute enjoys setting out definitions first, as Jin+Guice has done, because it typically yields a more productive discussion.

3.inequality seems like an issue of morality, not economics. maybe politics in that unhappy humans eventually acquire pitchforks?

most Austrians are quite convinced that, with less government intervention, there would be less inequality between humans. the theory is that government is centralized power, and the rich and powerful will capture it to further their own interests. therefore, the more government, the more it will be captured and used by the rich and powerful against those less fortunate.

this is unrelated, but most Austrians brute knows would be considered extreme hippies on a social level - they are typically against any form of drug prohibition, immigration controls, death penalty, often even prisons. "not caring" is typically a straw man, as these Libertarians (in their own view, at least, and in brute's as well) are actually on the moral high ground on pretty much every topic, believing their economic theory would inform a politics much more equitable and kind to the less well-off.

4.there are various strands of libertarianism. some want small government (minarchists), some none (anarcho-capitalists). various libertarians have various reasons for preferring libertarianism - some on moral grounds, some on grounds of effectiveness, which is then often based on economics ("it would work better"). most believe both. a critique of an economic theory that says free markets are generally more effective would presumably be somewhat of an attack on libertarianism which is based on its economic effectiveness. since most libertarians also believe themselves to be on the moral high ground, it is unlikely that a critique of their economic theories would turn them into statists. for example, if it turned out that sacrificing virgins were an incredible boon to the economy, brute would not be in favor of doing it. he considers it morally wrong.