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What is indisputably valuable and indisputably mine is my life and time. Why is it okay for someone to steal that for a few bucks an hour?  How did property get to be more important than the only thing that is indisputably mine? How did money (a fabrication) get to be more important than the only thing that is indisputably mine? The only thing of real and enduring human value.

The free market, as described by Libertarians et al, stacks the deck against the individual worker. It is like a slave market where human life is sold to those who will agree to give up the only really valuable thing any of us can have: life.

Why does a Libertarian say that it is wrong for a society to decide how much a worker should get paid? Why does a Libertarian arbitrarily chose to designate the property owner as the arbiter of value rather that the owner of the human life?  They want us then to believe this system creates something fair. Fair? For whom?  What kind of person can bear to see his fellow human being suffer for any reason? What kind of person could agree to a system that could deprive others of enjoying this brief adventure that is life and call that freedom?


Freedom for some.

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  • troll

    here’s an article about the cooperative movement in Mexico – link courtesy of rebelcapitalist on twitter

  • Cannonshop

    #136 both are things you can do presently, and if you can get enough people to follow suit, then they might well replace the existing system for a time. The record on Communes hasn’t been real good, but farmer’s co-ops seem to do okay-even in “Red State” areas (thus demonstrating some viability.)

  • Anarcissie

    I recommend the nonviolent replacement of coercive institutions with non-coercive ones, for example cooperatives and communes. I think this development would be a big improvement over traditional liberalism-capitalism.

  • Irv, knock it the fuck off! You could make a damned fortune blogging on Google with all the diarrhea you spill here. You’ve seen the ad for the cute piece of ass making a fortune after being broke, haven’t you? Even in your decrepitude, YOU could be that cute piece of ass!

  • …but even you must admit that I eventually do get to, or more formally said, arrive at a point.

    Which is what?

    what d’yah got against Homer and Dickens and Shakespeare and the like

    Nothing at all. As I said, you seem to admire them for their verbosity, as if the mere act of cramming as many words as possible onto a page (or into a blog post) qualified as great writing.

    I, on the other hand, admire them because they are great writers.

    I greatly enjoy reading all of the authors I mentioned (except for Emerson, who’s a tedious windbag). What their writing has, which yours doesn’t, is clarity (except for Emerson, who’s a – well, you get the picture).

    Dickens at least had an excuse for being prolix, as he got paid by the word. What’s yours?

    As for your skepticism of IQ tests and GPAs, all well and good, but unfortunately not very germane or relevant to the topic at hand

    No, it’s directly relevant, since you’re accusing me of various rather nasty things based on my article, the thrust of which, as I pointed out to you, was the complete opposite of your interpretation.

    I confess that there was a mild bit of social experimentation built into the piece, which judging by your reaction and that of a few people in the comments, seems to have yielded some rather interesting results.

    Let’s face facts here, you’re just an intellectual bully, or to be more precise and accurate, a fucking, intellectual bully.

    I’m not the one hurling insults, intimidation and threats (overt, moreover, not the spurious “veiled” ones which are entirely a figment of your imagination) at anyone who has the temerity to fail to defer to him in all particulars.

    I’m not the one claiming the absolute moral high ground and deciding that means he can call anyone who thinks otherwise evil, or stupid, or both.

    I did nothing to you. I had a brief and civil exchange of views with Dave, which for whatever reason seems to have tripped a breaker in your brain, whereupon your usual response kicked in, i.e. the verbal equivalent of using a Sherman tank to crush a Coke can.

  • Boeke

    I see that Irv is off the charts. Here’s one of his milder hate binges: “…pure, categorical professional quackery of our public schools, public school teachers and our worthless schools of education which ought, should and must be abolished brick by brick, or better yet, through napalm air strikes and or tactical nuclear destruction.”

    Irv has said nothing to diminish my original opinion that he is a madman, a psychotic with no bounds.

  • Les Slater

    And… I haven’t been offended at all. Why would you think I might be?

  • Les Slater

    re -130,

    “Perhaps you’re either to fucking sensitive…or I’m a flaming, insensitive asshole.”

    I have no reason to think you an asshole. But on the question of sensitivity? You’re the one who’s blown up. You even misuse ‘to’ as in ‘to fucking sensitive’.

  • Dear Mr. Slater,

    Did I fucking offend you? Did you find me patronizing and either unsympathetic or rather, too sympathetic to your professed learning disabilities? What the fuck did i do, again, to offend you?

    Perhaps you’re either to fucking sensitive to your professed disability, or I’m a flaming, insensitive asshole. Well, which is it, goddamnit?

    And yeah, I read your goddamn comment, so where the fuck did I go wrong? Tell me so I’ll know whether I should apologize to you or tell you to drop dead.

    Sorry, really got to go now, cause my meds really do beckon me – right this fucking instant.

  • dear dr. dreadful,

    Some points well taken…well no, I won’t even grant you that. You still haven’t addressed too many of my points of criticism.

    Let’s back track a tad and begin with your “first off” you’re right, “(you) shouldn’t have.”

    Prolixity, wordiness, verbosity, bluster, rant, fulmination, bombastic pomposity – yeah, I’ll grant you all those and more, no, make that many, many more; and yeah I can be maddeningly periphrastic, but even you must admit that I eventually do get to, or more formally said, arrive at a point.

    But I got to ask you, what d’yah got against Homer and Dickens and Shakespeare and the like, and I suppose Ayn Rand’s 1200 pages of “Atlas Shrugged” or Dostoyevsky’s novels which average roughly 700 plus pages each, and of course Tolstoy’s “War and Pizza” (that’s Giuseppe Tolstoy and that pizza of his ‘s got to weigh half a ton); by your argumentation herein, would preclude your reading of any of these masterpieces – and I still find that extremely anti-intellectual.

    You know it is rather ironic but I made the exact same sort of sophomoric arguments against reading; of trudging, laboring and toiling through all those great, albeit, dead white guys or dudes who happened to be some of the very greatest writers and thinkers of all time; when I was a teenage kid fifty years ago. And BTW, it was just as anti-intellectual and lame and dumb then, just as it is today.

    As for your skepticism of IQ tests and GPAs, all well and good, but unfortunately not very germane or relevant to the topic at hand; namely whether you are a conceited and arrogant, egotistical and narcissistic ass at heart and in true character, and revealed as much in that dreadfully unfunny article of yours.

    But you just simply don’t get it and just continue in your veiled condescension, snide insults and not so veiled threats and intimidation. Let’s face facts here, you’re just an intellectual bully, or to be more precise and accurate, a fucking, intellectual bully.

    Sorry, but got to go now – take me meds and rest a while, but I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible – that is to say, if I’m still breathing and have a pulse.

  • Les Slater

    re- #126

    I wasn’t trying to elicit praise or complement. I suggest you re-read my #125, maybe more carefully this time.

  • Irv,

    First off, as regards my response, you’re welcome, although your #123 reinforces my suspicion that I shouldn’t have done so.

    Prolixity does not equal intellectual accomplishment, although I’m sure you devoutly believe you’re fighting the good fight against all those heathens who kvetch about your ten-page “There, I Said It… Eventually” rants.

    Economy with words is de rigeur in modern writing, not to take anything away from folks like Homer, Ovid, Shakespeare, Dickens, Emerson, Whitman and the rest of the gang who could routinely employ 532 words to describe a spade. The difference is that they possessed something you don’t: clarity.

    (Well, maybe not Emerson…)

    If you had bothered to read past the first few paragraphs of the article in question, you would have got to the point of it, which was my skepticism about IQ tests and GPAs as a measure of smartness.

    As to the rest of your charges, I stand by what I said before, which is that they say a lot more about you than they do about me. We’re all just pixels on a screen here (to borrow one of Clavos’s favorite expressions), and the personas we elect to put out there are in most cases carefully chosen. You might want to ask yourself why it is that of the BC regulars, it’s only you and your Siamese twin, Alan, who seem to have this low opinion of me.

    Perhaps it’s you two who are the geniuses.

    Or perhaps it’s just that you’ve already decided (years ago, most likely) that anyone who dissents in any way from your own personal political philosophy is automatically a moron, in which case one has to wonder what you think you’re accomplishing by being here.

  • Dear Mr. Slater,

    Well, I’d like to thank you for your very generous and kind comment (# 125) as to my # 123.

    Look here, I too had a rather difficult time in high school, and I am rather bitter that I lost all those years and was set back at least ten years in my own, personal and individual, intellectual, academic and scholastic development – mostly to the fault of a very dreadful public school system in America, but which ironically was far more superior in every respect, was far superior intellectually, academically and scholastically, as well as morally and ethically; than today’s abomination which I maintain is thoroughly a result, one of many, of the failure of liberalism qua liberal progressivism et al.

    Of course I also share some of the blame and responsibility for my own personal failure; and to a lesser extent I also lay some of the blame for this failure at the doorstep of that of my parents who abandoned me for their own pursuits of the so-called good life, or to belabor the point even more so; for their elusive quest of the supposed, proverbial “la dolce vita.” But in the final analysis it was and still is my responsibility, in spite of my parents ignorance and lack of concern, and more importantly, in spite of the utter ignorance and pure, categorical professional quackery of our public schools, public school teachers and our worthless schools of education which ought, should and must be abolished brick by brick, or better yet, through napalm air strikes and or tactical nuclear destruction.

    But the point I wish to make here is that first, it can be done, one can overcome these miserable, worthless damnable, liberal statist and collectivist public schools of ours; and secondly, that it seems more than abundantly clear to me, by the very thoughtful and I maintain rather well-written # 125 of yours; that you have clearly overcome what you may have rightfully or incorrectly been branded with, and I truly believe wrongfully so, as learning disabilities.

    Yes, I consider myself to be a fairly good writer in spite of my many critics and detractors here at Blogcritics; but I have spent a lifetime honing these rather meager skills and abilities of mine. I’d like to present a picture of honest and sincere humility, but to be brutally honest, i don’t possess a single scintilla of humility, nor do I have a single, humble bone in my entire goddamn body. But if I can turn a decent or appealing phrase here and there; well, in this day and age, that’s all that I could possibly ask for or desire.

    So again, thanks for your kind and generous comment, and please, you need not apologize for your writing or supposed lack of thinking skills; they seem to be more than adequate to me

    But if you’re playing me, or fishing for compliments and false praise here, as you can clearly see in my comment # 124, my goddamn wrath is a true, badass motherfucker. So thou hast been amply forewarned, MOFO!

  • Les Slater

    Irvin F. Cohen – #123

    I must compliment you but first a note about myself.

    I am learning disabled to the extent I was unable to make it through high school. My primary area of difficulties were in the literary arts. I was much more successful in science though certain fields of abstract reasoning were beyond my reach. I was not able to deal with the formalities and rigors of not too high mathematics.

    I often find reading quite difficult and stressful. Reading Joyce in English or Hegel in translation for instance is on one extreme. Appreciating the beauty of Joyce or comprehending the depth Hegel have been no easy matter for me.

    The talent and skill, the clarity and fluidity with which you presented your 123 left me not only pleased but with a deep sense of serenity. Even with my limitations and difficulties I was able to fully comprehend your piece. Thank you.

  • Regardless of superficial political orientation, all current governments have one trait in common, which is that the number and scope of laws continues to grow at a terrifying pace.

    Similarly the sheer volume of administration and enforcement of those laws places an increasing burden on all people.

    I don’t think the answer lies in the simple argument of some that government should be massively scaled back, simply because past experience has shown that in the absence of rules massive abuses occur.

    We need a whole new set of ideas and practices for how we manage and direct our activities but, outside of tiny little pockets, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of meaningful debate taking place about how we can achieve that. This is the real political, commercial and cultural challenge facing us all, regardless of location.

    That said, future aspiration is one thing but surviving and thriving in the context of our contemporary situation is quite another.

    Faced with heavy administration & taxation and aggressive legal systems, it seems an entirely rational response for individuals and businesses of all sizes to want to protect themselves against such dangers by positioning their lives and assets in such a way as to minimise taxation and legal threats.

    I am gradually shifting myself, my family and our small businesses to more benign situations in order to protect our modest assets from such threats and also launching a new business to help others do the same.

    Interesting times…

  • Dear dr. dreadful, as to your #122

    First off, thanks for responding to my # 117, that was truly very kind of you to condescend from your ever so lofty empyrean heights of sheer brilliance and utter genius; in order to deign to address a lowly, common, empty mind full of irrational bloviation such as mine. Bravo, bravo, how truly noble and kind thou be!

    Indeed your very first line of your # 122 is just absolutely brilliant in its overwhelming wit. “That’s very rich coming from…etc., etc.” Yes it is, yes it is.

    (In fact it’s sort of like a precocious five year old after having been accused of something childish, who responds in kind with “…am not…am not…you are…you are…” Again, what brilliant, cutting and insightful rapier repartee.)

    Well, yes I confess that I am rather prolix and wordy, and especially so for rather ignorant, uncultivated, pseudo intellectuals who think reading more than five words at a single reading, well perhaps I exaggerate, make that six words; is a humanly unendurable ordeal tantamount to childbirth without the benefit of anesthesia, or that of having all four limbs removed with a chainsaw, also without benefit of anesthesia. And oh BTW, this utter aversion and animus to reading more than five words at a time; is extremely anti-intellectual which unfortunately I find to be sadly ironic.

    Now as for “I never said any such thing, and you know it.”

    Well the operative word here from my # 117 is “wrote.” And as for your # 122 “…and you know it.” Well actually I do not. However what I do know is that you, again, “wrote” a decidely, or to stay in character here, make that, a rather DREADFULLY unfunny article entitled, “Am I Really That Smart?” for Blogcritics, Culture Section, published on Feb. 12, 2008.

    Do you remember? Do you want to remember? I mean that is your made up face in the “bio pic” – you know the rather dreadful face made up with a great deal of dreadful makeup and thick mascara to resemble ole Frankenstein, isn’t it?

    Just a rather snide and snarky question here – which is the real persona, you or ole Frank?

    Now I can understand self-deprecating humor, trust me on this one, but there is a difference between self-deprecation and true arrogance. Sometimes the line of demarcation and distinction between the two; well, let us say, is very tenuous and in your case, perhaps dreadfully blurred.

    Moreover I maintain that the underlying convictions of your words in this article of yours, and the not so clever attempts at failed wit therein; are a window into, and a reflection upon your inner soul and to what you truly believe of yourself. That beneath all that bluster and tortured and tortuous wit, was your true soul only partially and guardedly revealed.

    Tell me if I am wrong – and why that’s the case.

    Or better yet, tell me you never wrote, in fact, your very first line, “Apparently I am a genius.” Or, “The only reason I have a 3.8 (GPA) instead of a 4.0…blah, blah, blah.” Or, “This puts me…in the 95th percentile of the world’s cleverest.” Et al, et al, et al, blah-blah, blah-blah, blah-blahhhhh.

    Am I guilty of taking these words of yours out of context and on a rather selective basis solely in order to make you look bad?

    Well perhaps.

    But then again, because we both know that “apparently you are a genius;” and because we both also know that you could easily disabuse me of these vastly unfounded and silly notions of mine, and especially so of my distorted analyses and worthless opinions of you as such; well again, you could easily accomplish this solely through the agency of your sheer, utter brilliance and “apparent genius.”

    And finally I must confess and admit that you just might be that poor, misunderstood and unappreciated and unrecognized genius who you claim that you are.

    But even if you are, that does not in any way diminish your arrogance nor your twisted and highly contorted sophistry; nor my analyses and opinions toward that end, that in the final analysis you are still an unmitigated, pure intellectual phony and fraud, and an insecure, narcissistic jerk.

    Of course, no heard feelings and nothing meant personal at all here; cause I wuvve you too. So have a nice fucking day to boot.

  • your comment itself is yet another piece of typical mind-numbing, highly convoluted and contrived, deeply obscurantist intellectual masturbation as is your wont and custom.

    That’s very rich, coming from Mister Never-a-Word-Where-a-Thousand-Will-Do…

    you wrote and that you yourself proclaimed and said that you were not the smartest person in the entire world – just only the second or third smartest.

    I never said any such thing, and you know it.

    As for the rest of your usual interminable bullshit, I’d say that it describes you a lot better than it describes me.

  • Clavos

    Sure Glenn, I agree with you: charge em all the taxes you want, but they won’t pass them on to their foreign customers, and in fact, If I were CFO of such a company I wouldn’t do so. Why should a widget buyer in France pay American taxes? Or an American widget buyer pay French taxes?

    The problem with your plan is the following: If I am the French minister of the treasury, and I hear the the USA is now going to start charging American International Widgets, LLC (AIW) a tax they hadn’t previously been charging, I would take a leaf out of the Irish book and approach the board of AIW to say, “Move your operations here, and we’ll let you do business in our country tax free.”

    And actually I DID answer this question earlier, but not in detail, when I said you should charge as much tax to corporations as you can get away with, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re saving the American taxpayer any money, because you aren’t.

    Hell, I believe the government has the right to charge as much as it can get away with, not only from corporations, but from individuals and they oughta start taxing churches, too — a 98% rate on gross income (no deductions) on the churches. Individuals should pay upwards of 80% but be supplied with all their needs by the government — think of the control they would have then!! It’s enough to give any good Democrat a wet dream.

    Seriously, though, Glenn. You have to be careful — corporations (and for that matter a lot of individuals) have no nationality; tax ’em enough, and they’ll leave for greener pastures, of which there are plenty around the world these days — look how many Gringo retirees are now in Latin America, and how many companies are shifting operations to overseas tax havens. If my taxes ever get truly onerous, I’ll be outta here in a flash.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    You still didn’t answer my question, though:

    since we effectively do NOT charge taxes to international corporations we are essentially subsidizing their payment of taxes to other countries, does it not make sense that we should ensure that international corporations pay the American taxes they’re supposed to pay, and the corporations would therefore pass the cost down not only to American consumers but also to the foreign consumers who are presently reaping the benefits of the lack of American taxation of international corporations?

    I’d really like to see you directly address this question.

  • Everyone believes in liberty, Dave, but not under the prevailing conditions of rigged inequality and skewed notion of justice. The concept of liberty you seem to be propagating works hand in hand with the present system, which is why is not everybody is buying it. Change the conditions, make the system work for most everyone, and you’ll have a helluva better shot, not before.

  • The road to hell is paved with analogies…

    Roger, you can’t make people believe in liberty. They have to come to it on their own.


  • RE # 114,

    Nothing, but absolutely nothing is germane to Cindy’s supposed, so-called argument.

    And your comment itself is yet another piece of typical mind-numbing, highly convoluted and contrived, deeply obscurantist intellectual masturbation as is your wont and custom.

    Who knows what the fuck you think or believe, or whether you possess any principles or convictions whatsoever; of which the latter I personally tend to doubt.

    You remind me of the Romans when they first came into contact with the Greeks. The reaction of the Romans was one of shock and distrust and utter disgust. Why? Because the Greeks were too fucking clever and deceitful for their own good by a country mile. Because the Greeks would cleverly argue and win one side of an issue one day, and on the following day the other side of that very same issue and win that debate too.

    And to the Romans this sort of clever sophistry was thoroughly unmanly – because it indicated a total lack of character, principle, integrity and honesty. So I ask you doctah drearyfullness, were the Romans right?

    Or is it you will now feel compelled to explain to me at great length, in highly contrived, convoluted and in rather maddening complexity; how they were absolutely wrong on one side of your mouth, then how they were absolutely right on the other side?

    Moreover, I cannot help but feel that all this fancy and clever sophistic and casuistic, and oh yes, purposefully obscurantist footwork of yours; is nothing but a mask to hide a deep-seated personal sense of insecurity in which you feel compelled to prove yourself constantly with all this shiny, glitzy, intellectual splendor of yours.

    The question then arises, are you so insecure, are you so egotistical, narcissistic and solipsistic that you can only, nay, make that you must absolutely validate yourself by proving to the rest of the supposed, so-called rational, logical, civilized world how truly brilliant you are and how so much smarter you are than everyone else?

    However I must admit that you wrote and that you yourself proclaimed and said that you were not the smartest person in the entire world – just only the second or third smartest. How truly humble and filled with humility that be!

    Well, that sir, is rather typical of the pathology of criminals, of frauds and liars, and charlatans, and egomaniacal narcissists.

    But of course I could be wrong. And then of course, under the phony pretext and justification of calling and declaring all this simply a “personal attack” of you by me; you could simply delete my ANALYSIS of you and your shallow, phony, corrupt argumentation, epistemology and modus operandi; and simply be done with it.

    So what shall it be Mr, dreary – cause the ball is now in your court.

  • cindy


    I am glad you responded. You aren’t quite seeing how I mean what I am saying. Perhaps others are ad well. Let me think of some analogies that might help.

  • Well, what it would take then, Dave, to have a society confirm to the laws, a condition that everyone become a libertarian?

  • Yet germane to Cindy’s argument.

  • Yes, Dr. D., but that’s a function of society, not of laws.


  • The only one who’s kvetching is you, Alan. I only brought up the subject of the American Dream to counter you feigning ignorance, the trademark by now of your debating “style” and empty rhetoric.

  • Where did you get the idea that property is more important than life? That’s certainly not reflected in our laws which clearly punish crimes like murder far more severely than property crimes.

    Except that propertied people are less likely to get the death penalty for murder than those with lower incomes.

  • In this dismayingly short and inarticulate though heartfelt rant, Cindy displays that she has zero understanding of what libertarians believe, much less of the diversity within the libertarian movement.

    What is indisputably valuable and indisputably mine is my life and time. Why is it okay for someone to steal that for a few bucks an hour?

    Because otherwise you would starve to death. It is your choice to be employed. Are you actually complaining that you get paid for that work?

    How did property get to be more important than the only thing that is indisputably mine?

    Where did you get the idea that property is more important than life? That’s certainly not reflected in our laws which clearly punish crimes like murder far more severely than property crimes.

    How did money (a fabrication) get to be more important than the only thing that is indisputably mine? The only thing of real and enduring human value.

    Why, now you sound like a Ron Paul follower. They hate money, especially when issued by the Federal Reserve.

    The free market, as described by Libertarians et al, stacks the deck against the individual worker. It is like a slave market where human life is sold to those who will agree to give up the only really valuable thing any of us can have: life.

    I don’t see how it is giving up life to exchange your labor for the necessities which actually keep you alive. Seems like the exact opposite.

    Why does a Libertarian say that it is wrong for a society to decide how much a worker should get paid?

    No libertarians say this. Society decides what a worker should be paid through the free market.

    Why does a Libertarian arbitrarily chose to designate the property owner as the arbiter of value rather that the owner of the human life?

    This is exactly the opposite of what they believe. Prices are set by individuals – those owners of human life – who decide what wage they are willing to work for and what prices they are willing to pay for products in the marketplace.

    They want us then to believe this system creates something fair.

    The idea of fairness is so subjective as to be utterly meaningless.

    Fair? For whom?

    By treating all people with equal indifference all are treated fairly.

    What kind of person can bear to see his fellow human being suffer for any reason?

    Not libertarians, certainly. That’s why they believe that government – the engine of most suffering – should be reigned in and kept out of our lives.

    What kind of person could agree to a system that could deprive others of enjoying this brief adventure that is life and call that freedom?

    I think you need to define what you mean by enjoying life. It sounds like you mean sitting around eating bon bons while other people pay your way. If that’s the case then your freedom comes at the cost of their enslavement and you are the aggressor and enslaver.


  • Anyway, Douglas, if you think Connolly is just another writer who gets paid to write political screeds, as you have so ably put it, here is another piece that will hopefully dissuade you from making rash judgments in the future: an interview.

    Personally, I don’t share Connolly’s optimistic view of a pluralistic society capable of constructive resolution of “agonistic conflict,” but the interview I’ve linked to certainly doesn’t present a picture of a “political propagandist,” which term you have so conveniently latched on to.

    If there be a lesson in this, perhaps you ought to weigh your words more closely and be less hasty in your judgment in the future.

  • Alan, you may wish to consider that there are several levels of slavery – i.e. theft of your time, and therefore lack of your freedom.

    One, the most serious, is where you are treated as chattel property and denied any but the barest sustenance, if that, while being forced to work without any compensation. That is the situation of these slaves in India, as well as Arabia, Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia.

    A second, is where you work for low wages with few benefits. You are compensated for the time – the freedom you give up – but at a level that barely allows you to feel any sense of satisfaction, or advancement in life. This would be a burger flipper at McDonald’s or an office cleaner.

    A third level is where you are compensated for the time/freedom you give up; but even though it is at a reasonable level for many people, you do not feel it is at a reasonable level – for you. This may well characterize the employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere who want to get paid more or receive either more secure benefits or just more benefits.

    I won’t comment on the failure of the American dream. That is a book-long comment – and I just do not have the time or the patience – and if I am to write that much, I want to get paid!.

  • This CNN article about real slavery in present-day India shows how trivial are both Cindy’s blog about the “slavery” of wage labor and Roger’s kvetching about the alleged failure of the American Dream.

  • Baronius

    I haven’t followed this thread, but I have to jump in and point out that Anarchimedes made one of the most curious comments, saying that “the real problem here is how we talk past one another” then in the next sentence calling his opponents “libertards”.

  • Sorry you see it that way. I’m afraid I won’t be of any more help.

  • Doug Hunter


    True, just as in the article.

  • It’s called rationalization. Most of what passes as thought is rationalization of the assumptions and principles you’re either too lazy or too afraid to question.

  • troll

    the dumbest folks I know are those who vote and reproduce this non-participatory non-representative government

  • What basic assumptions? The piece is mainly descriptive of how the mechanism works. It’s your clear cut distinctions between logic and emotions and the way you manage to compartmentalize the two that is questionable.

  • Doug Hunter


    I disagree with the base assumptions, so why would the logic based upon that make any sense whatsoever? I didn’t see anything particularly insightful… essentially the article claims that each groups desire to spread misery through the world overcomes any other differences they may have. That paints a nice black and white picture with a message that rallies troops on the left, but it’s not very convincing to anyone but the choir.

  • Les Slater


    My guess is that you’re not likely to vote Democrat. If that’s true then it’s a credit to you, even if you vote Republican. The dumbest folks I know are those that vote for Democrats while going through sheepish contortions to justify it.

  • Les Slater


    How about ‘thinking man’?

  • Doug Hunter


    I’d be interested to know what label you think best fits. I don’t really feel comfortable with any of them myself. Libertarian is one that fits OK. I’m really support free market capitalism, meritocracy, and equal opportunity, but the general understanding is corporatism/crony capitalism which I share your disdain for. The ‘magic’ of capitalism happens when businesses compete (not just the workers) lowering prices, profits, and management costs. The problem is that businesses are not interested in competing as that cuts into profit margins, they’re interested in corrupting officials, burying competition in red tape and regulations, and getting hold of government sanctioned monopolies/contracts.

  • The problem is, Doug, you seem to take everything personally. What makes you think the account presented was an attack on your own person? Has the author suggested such a thing? Have I? I’d really look at it if I were you, this seeming obstinacy in you having to defend yourself or those who are not even yours. Unless you will develop a habit of processing ideas on their own merit, apart from their seeming association with you personally, you’ll never be an independent thinker and forever you’ll remain reactive.

    The author describes a very interesting mechanism at work, and whether you agree with it or not, it’s certainly food for thought – not any kind of propaganda in terms of which you so readily dismiss it. The mechanism analogy is very insightful: it suggests a movement of events without necessarily being able to single out any particular person or group of persons as an agency directly responsible for the particular twists and turns the present and the future takes. It’s an assemblage of sorts, bigger than any of us, and it suggests loss of control.

    Again, the fact that you dismiss this excellent piece of analysis as propaganda rather than focus on the salient points or at least be intrigued by them only tells me how reactive you are.

  • Les Slater

    Doug -92,

    I can hardly take seriously anyone that identifies himself as a Libertarian and then promptly proclaims his abhorrence of violence. At least you own up to it. But somehow, I don’t see you as a Libertarian.

  • Doug Hunter


    A bit worrying in itself. I read your article in #90 (much of it twice), and I can’t take anyone with such a one side view seriously although the subject is quite interesting. When every line and word is spun for maximum effect with no attempt to understand or provide a reasonable balance it jumps of the page at me, I don’t read from most right wing sources for the same reason. I could go line by line and provide examples and counter to the spin but it’s simply not worth my time (unlike the author, I don’t get paid to write political screeds).

  • I have no idea what you’re talking about, Doug.

  • Doug Hunter


    I can understand, after reading Roger’s article from #90 a ‘true representation of the right’ according to you guys might require a woman and black hating inbred hillbilly, an eccentric, sadistic billionaire who enjoyed starving slaves to death for sexual gratification, and perhaps Satan himself.

    Roger, how do you square the propaganda you read with your interactions you have with those on the right? Do you really think I secretly hate women, minorities, and want people to starve and die as the country falls apart, or do you just perceive I’m an ignorant simpleton?

  • Most people are stagnated, Les. You’ve heard them once, no need to hear them again. It’s boring.

  • Connolly’s account of the “cowboy capitalism-protestant ethics” resonance machine is damn convincing.

  • @63

    I broke it down to the American situation, Alan, so that simple folk like you can understand. If you want to discuss the international condition, visit my anarchistic pages. But again, I don’t expect you to because emitting hot air is all you’re about.

  • But who are you going to get rid of the rubble?

  • Les Slater

    It seems to be self purging. It used to much livelier, much greater participation. And as far as right thinking is concerned, it sometimes is a place to see what some on the right are thinking but doesn’t seem to be too representative of even the right.

  • troll

    right Les…the place needs a good purge so that right thinking will flourish

  • Les Slater

    And not just Wisconsin and Walker, but on the whole question of freedom. Democratic rights are of no minor import to the question of freedom.

  • Les Slater

    blogcritics/politics is a pretty unhealthy place. It’s not a place that I’d recommend for anybody to show up at to increase their understanding of any issue.

    We had to wait until comment 78 by cannonshop to see any meat. But Irvin F. Cohen notwithstanding, that meat is rotten.

    Cindy’s first two paragraphs in 83 have much more to do with the reality of the situation than all else said so far.

  • Cannonshop,

    78 – Walker’s motive is to destroy the right of collective bargaining for public employees; budgetary considerations are excuses toward that end.

    Reason can be used to obfuscate. Cutting expenses is only a thin veil to disguise the real goal–union busting.

    81 – Freedom is the ability to choose-even to choose wrongly- how to devote that life energy-but it is also the freedom to suffer the consequences of those choices if you choose the wrong balance.

    So my question remains, if [f]reedom is the ability to choose-even to choose wrongly- how to devote [one’s] life energy, then why do Libertarians support a system where many will not have freedom (as defined in your terms)?

  • No you didn’t, you got it perfect, goddamnit.

    Good goin’ Cannonshop, atta boy and right on, right on, right-fucking-on!

    I can’t believe how perfectly right on and accurately you encapsulated and truly characterized the opposition. From your first sentence till “People who do not reason…” Just overwhelmingly clear, lucid, straightforward, direct and simple to understand; and its logic convincingly powerful, compelling and persuasive. In fact and indeed overwhelmingly so!

    (Some stylistic issues, but small potatoes not worthy of belaboring as Alan and I occasionally are so fond and wont to do. Don’t sweat the petty shit – but do pay some attention to it. But then again, that’s what editors are for which Alan constantly but rightfully belabors. But back to your comment.)

    The rest of your argument is just meat on the bone, of which there is more than ample heft, and icing on the cake, which is even more delicious.

    But you must also understand that many of the people you’re dealing with herein have all the intellectual capacity, brainpower, understanding and cultivation, cultural refinement, sophistication and educational attainment of goats, birds and chickens; or that of peas, as in pea-brained. Which is not to say they are dumb as rocks, but rather that it is to say that they are actually dumber than fucking rocks. And they’re all on the liberal progressive, commie-lib, pinko, leftist side of the equation, including and especially the Marxist anarchist morons, cretins, imbeciles and idiots. Which makes debating with these clowns and fools quite difficult and enervatingly tedious.

    Just one last point of praise; I especially like your metaphor of the snake feeding on its own tail (as so many of the left do, HOW ACCURATE AND APPROPRIATE AN ANALOGY!). Well, fucking put and right on, right on!

  • Cannonshop

    It’s a matter of what you decide to trade for-material goods, companionship, friendship, family-what you trade your time for, and what you get out of it, is intensely subjective. “Stuff” doesn’t matter, family and friends do…but it’s nice to be able to eat, not freeze out in the darkness, and to be able to give them more than your time.

    Freedom is the ability to choose-even to choose wrongly- how to devote that life energy-but it is also the freedom to suffer the consequences of those choices if you choose the wrong balance.

  • I really don’t get what all the arguments here are about. Cindy is looking at a situation where her beloved is a lot closer to his tomb than his cradle, and he is suffering terribly. He no longer has the freedom to make elemental choices. And because she loves him, she suffers as well – and certain questions stare her in the face and will not go away.

    Cindy looked at life as freedom and broke this freedom down to something simple. Our time on earth is the most precious thing we have – and trading it for material goods in “civilized” society does not seem to be a decent bargain to her. The exchange is simple. What do we trade our time – hence our freedom – for? What is the decent bargain?

    I’m not being nasty here, and certainly not trying to be hurtful. But, what is so difficult to understand here?

  • Cannonshop

    eeew…I scattered all over the damn map with that one.

  • Cannonshop

    All these ‘isms’ share a common bond-they straitjacket reason and logic into neat rows to give power to hucksters at the expense of everyone else.

    Including their believers, and including the “anarchism” crowd.

    Political philosophies Require a measure of faith to promote themselves-faith in terms of belief without proof, or in the face of proof.

    (i.e. you don’t need a formal ‘god’ to have faith.)

    and don’t fool yourself-everyone has it-even self-proclaimed skeptics like myself.

    The question is the standard by which you measure the ‘proofs’ that support your faith. The looser the standards, the more likely the faith is to be Radicalized, extreme, or aggressive-after all, if you’re really right, you don’t need to beat people over the head with your beliefs-at least, if you accept that they are, at base, at least as reasonable as yourself. Mind that UNreasonable people will not be swayed by passion or repetition of ideas and thoughts that they ascribe to being false-only reasonable people can be persuaded by reason.

    ONLY reasonable people can Compromise, or accept evidence counter to their prejudices.

    People who do not reason, can not do this, nor can they provide reasonable proofs within a tight standard of evidence for their beliefs.

    How does this apply to Scott Walker? well…

    He obviously BELIEVES he is being reasonable-and his detractors and opponents obviously believe he is being UNreasonable.

    The problem I have, is that their evidence of this unreason, does not, in my mind, constitute reasonable or rational evidence-it is repetition and wholly faith-based, with only a very narrow, minority level of any sort of factual support.

    Civil Service unions are NOT private-sector unions, they function differently, and within radically different environments-I don’t have to buy a General Motors car, but I DO have to pay taxes-a difference between the voluntary, and the coercive, and between a free market, and a monopoly market. Government is, within its jurisdiction, essentially non-competitive and has little to no pressure to provide good quality services at a reasonable cost-the only controls on this cost, then, are applied internally within its structure, in reaction to something we call “The Vote”. Voters tend to be apathetic and ignorant-that may be a generalization, but it is one that is supported by confirmable evidence-the claim can be checked and verified or disproven.

    “The Vote” put Scott Walker into office, and it may well take him out again, but he apparently thinks it has ordered him to balance an out-of-balance budget, and there are very few ways to do this-removal of real-estate costs, materials, or labor costs.

    Of those three, Labor costs are the most fluid-that is, they can be liquidated more easily and effectively than selling state lands, or disposing of equipment-both items being very, very, dependent on markets, which aren’t strong at this present time.

    So, it’s fire people, cut services, or renegotiate contracts. When comparing incomes and education levels, apparently Walker’s people have come to the conclusion that some of the workforce is over-compemsated for what they do- this can be argued, what can’t be argued, is that the budget’s in negative numbers, and generally voters don’t want the fire-department to go away.

    Increasing taxation only works if you have a ready pool of income to tax-if your pool of taxables is declining (as in, your economy is in the toilet and going down), increasing taxes doesn’t do anything but speed the process downward.

    This makes tax increases a non-starter, even ‘sin’ taxes like booze and smokes-people will find other things to get high and wreck their health, things that aren’t taxed, or are even illegal to avoid paying it in tight times. Going from pre-rolled to hand-rolled ciggies, for instance, or buying black-market smokes, or buying them on the indian reservation or out of state, similarly with booze.

    B&O taxes tend to encourage businesses that CAN leave, to do so beyond a certain point, likewise for Property taxes, sales tax, inventory tax, head-tax (like payroll taxes), etc. etc.

    there is a point where you can not raise taxes because it will have the opposite of the intended effect-this is visible with places like Detroit Michigan.

    In the Private sector, if you don’t have work, you don’t have a Union-because if you don’t have work, you can’t pay for it, and there is no reason (nor employer) to provide that reason.

    Taxing the income of Civil Servants is a bit like the snake eating its tail-you get a small rebate on their paycheque, that’s all-there is no real money coming in from the activity.

    On a practical level then, if your private-sector tax base is declining, you need to cut your public-sector outlays in some fashion that does not encourage that private sector to continue leaving.

    I believe this is what Gov. Walker is trying to do-cut the expenses without degrading the services that might serve to encourage fence-sitters to stay, rather than leave.

    When the janitor at the high school is making more than the skilled mechanics in town, that’s probably a sign that the Janitor’s overpaid relative to the mechanics who, in the end, pay his salary with their taxes.

  • cindy

    Clav, of course…Minnie is a must!

  • cindy

    Alan’s comments appear to be nothing but projections. 42 comments doing exactly what he claims others are doing. Must be some sort of comedy routine.

  • cindy

    Well, officially in my official book.)

  • Doug Hunter


    Interesting, I view all of it as falling on the back of workers rather than consumers though. Ultimately, they are the ones upon whose backs everything rests: taxes, government, the poor, and the rich.

  • cindy

    Thanks troll.

    (Just out of critical care. Aspiration 5 days of ventilation and now a stomach tube. The sad thing is he was not sick. None of this is from illness. You know, aside from the heart. It is messing with his mind. Delerium again. Hopefully off to 3 weeks of rehab soon for walking and swallowing. Always scares me when he mentally leaves. It’s a nervous time. He is now officially the luckiest unlucky fellow.

  • Doug Hunter


    I didn’t respond to #23 because it’s difficult for me to follow the logic when I disagree with the basic premise. I know that ‘freedom is slavery’ is a sound concept for you, but you have to consider us dense ones as well. I wasn’t clear how the first paragraph determined that markets did not equal freedom and don’t see how outlawing markets or buying and selling might increase it. The rest of the post sorta builds on that.

    I got the idea he was maybe advocating worker owned companies. I don’t think it’s against the law for workers to own a company and participate in it’s decisionmaking now, if that’s a viable idea it should take hold of it’s own accord and I’m certainly for it.

  • Doug Hunter


    Nothing in your response was inconsistent with what I predicted in #7. Submit or leave is a pretty strong message for someone seeemingly concerned about domination and the like. Thanks, but I think I’ll stay and work on it from the inside. If it makes you feel better I don’t expect the same from you, I like the ring of live and let live over submit or die… but that’s just us freedom luvin libertards.

    *The repeated allusions to selfishness isn’t really getting you anywhere, that’s a convenient notion you’ve come up with to discount libertarian arguments that doesn’t reflect reality. It’s no more selfish for me to have an opinion regarding society than for you to. As for ‘taking the last crumb’ I bet my living arrangements are more modest than most of those ditching their ‘public service’ facade and protesting for their own crumbs. I don’t see you calling them selfish, expecting $60-70K in benefits while half the world lives on a dollar or two a day. Selfishness is in the eye of the beholder apparently.

  • Clavos

    Yes, why would anyone vote for abortion rights, gay rights, environmental responsibility, responsible taxation and responsible spending NOT based on ‘trickle-down economics’, the right to assemble as a union, and an actual honest-to-goodness acceptance of science over dogma?

    Not everybody buys all that crap, Glenn, that’s why some people are (gasp!) Republicans, Glenn, while others are Independents, Libertarians, Communists, Atheists, Anarchists (Cindy — Your cue) and some don’t believe in anything!! I know you find it hard to deal with the fact that there’s anyone who doesn’t believe in your righteous system, but there are Glenn, there are; and lately, they even seem to outnumber y’all, inconceivable as that may be to you.

    You think we shouldn’t tax corporations because they would only pass the costs down to the American consumer

    Wrong again, Glenn. I did NOT say we shouldn’t tax corporations; my point was that we shouldn’t deceive ourselves into thinking corporations actually pay taxes, they don”t, they pass their taxes on to their customers, built into the product or service they’re selling. In our system, ONLY consumers (most of whom are middle class, pay taxes)

  • troll

    good idea for presentation style Cindy – small bites

    (I hope all is well with you and yours)

  • 19 – Ruvy,

    “Start by admitting, From cradle to tomb
    It isn’t that a long a stay.”


  • Doug,

    If you got something better please speak up…

    anarchimedes described the problem with a Libertarian free market solution in #23. It is not a solution which supports freedom.

    So, what do you say about the guidelines outlined there in 23? How is your free market choice more in line with freedom than a proposal based on those guidelines?

  • Roger,

    Okay, will do both. TTY tomorrow.

  • troll

    Rog re #51 which I missed…as I indicated – Kierkegaard’s notion that resentment of god for the human condition as the underlying cause of human violence never ‘satisfied’ me either

    maybe I’d best read some of that Connolly

  • anarchimedes,

    imagine if the equivalent was in politics where due to lifes circumstances many people were compelled to sell their political rights to others in order to “make a living” and that the buyers could use their political rights however they wanted regardless of how it affected others.

    Intriguing…how would that look practically. I am trying to imagine. It’s a great point!

    economic freedom is as doublespeak for economic slavery. we should aspire to be slave owners. thats what [Libertarians] are praising and aspiring to be. slave masters of labor.

    That makes a lot of sense to me. Well put.

  • After I asked what promise has not been fulfilled, Roger Nowosielski replied (#53), “The promise of the American Dream.” So even though others on this thread have broadened the discussion to an international scope, Roger locates the failure within the USA.

    Yet where does it say that the American Dream promises anything? To the contrary, the American Dream is merely a metaphor of variable possibilities. “Variable” because within a market-driven macroeconomic framework, there are no guarantees. Today’s possibility can overnight become tomorrow’s impossibility. At the same time, as one possibility shuts down, another may open up–or two or three or a thousand.

    Cindy contends that when a worker agrees to exchange his or her labor for payment set by the employer, that constitutes “stealing.” Yet how many of our 150 million employed Americans–no matter how much they gripe about their jobs and complain that they’re underpaid–would accuse their employers of “stealing” their labor? It’s a childish concept.

    What’s so offensive about Cindy and Roger is how they assume they know what most Americans think or aspire to or deserve. It’s a classic case of what I call authoritarian anarchism, in which those claiming to disavow government would actually like nothing better than to themselves exercise complete control over others. Because, after all, anarchists know best.

  • Heck, Clavos even flirted briefly himself with saying nice things about Obama before the 2008 primaries. I doubt he confused Obama with, you know, a conservative or anything at the time.

  • The millions of independent, non-“liberal” voters who went for Democrats in 2006 and 2008 might disagree with Clavos’s characterization of a “liberal canon.” Many of these folks became disenchanted about the Dems and stayed home or voted GOP in 2010. But the clumsy extremists in the GOP House and the idiotic embrace of birtherism and fringy social conservatism by Huckabee, Gingrich, Pawlenty, etc, may cause those voters to change right back.

  • Cindy, why don’t you postpone your call tomorrow; you’re in the midst of a debate. Meanwhile, read up on the “machine” analogy/explanation and the politics of resentment (Connolly) as per links on my anarchism thread.

  • “Bloviating” was the term I had in mind.

    Does it ring a bell now or do I have to draw a picture? I’ve been wrong in my hasty expression, but you’re wrong, as usual, in principle.

    Let me correct myself. You’re not really wrong, Alan, because you don’t have any.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Why would anybody who doesn’t believe in the liberal canon ever vote Democratic?

    Yes, why would anyone vote for abortion rights, gay rights, environmental responsibility, responsible taxation and responsible spending NOT based on ‘trickle-down economics’, the right to assemble as a union, and an actual honest-to-goodness acceptance of science over dogma?

    That reminds me, Clavos – you never did answer my question. You think we shouldn’t tax corporations because they would only pass the costs down to the American consumer, and I replied that there’s some sense to that (though I could argue the point)…but only when it comes to corporations that do business ONLY in America.

    When it comes to international corporations – like Exxon which paid less in taxes than I have in the coin holder in my car – they ALL pay taxes in EVERY country in which they do business…except in America. That means that Exxon is passing down to US the cost of the taxes they’re paying to OTHER countries. In other words, we’re subsidizing Exxon’s payment of taxes they’re paying to other nations. Does it not make sense, then, that Exxon should pay American taxes too, so that they would pass on at least some of those expenses to other countries?

    I really, really look forward to your answer.

  • troll

    Doug #44 the ‘system’ that I refer to is international capitalism – not US society alone

    tick tock – a few more drop from starvation suicide murder war…where’s that fucking trawler

    that’s progress for ya

    as for the good ol USA – Food Not Bombs proposes that we throw away enough food to feed every hungry human here in order to maintain a facade of scarcity

    how fucked up is that?

  • 7 Doug,

    You are a member of society, you take from society and you benefit from that. You are a part of it and you rely on it. Regardless of what you would prefer to believe, you are not independent, but are a social animal. The question is why would you want to be an antisocial animal?.

    If you don’t want to be a slave to society or serve it, then kindly remove yourself from it, that is your only choice. Your choice to simply enjoy your privileged position at society’s banquet whilst proclaiming that helping clean up the dishes would make you a slave is hogwash.

    It is not really a matter of sacrificing yourself for the greater good. What are you being asked to sacrifice? It is rather a matter of not taking the last crumb of everything for yourself because you had the luck to get to the buffet first and also noting the long line behind you.

  • Yet, he talks of obviating.

    Roger Nowosielski (#53), you’re wrong as usual. I never mentioned “obviating.”

  • It is like a slave market where human life is sold to those who will agree to give up the only really valuable thing any of us can have: life. makes no sense but I think everyone can figure out what I meant there.

  • to the fore …

  • What promise? The promise of the American Dream. Any country, even Libya or Egypt can have its constitution, but America …

    Are you suddenly discarding your faith in American exceptionalism or, what is more likely, only argued for it when it was convenient?

    The utter spinelessness of Alan comes to the forth once again. Yet, he talks of obviating.

  • Oh, Frank, I quoted you, then I forgot to address your point that the value your slave master paid for you as being something you have.

    I can’t make sense of this idea when thinking about the world. How do you get this value?

  • @40

    I believe #29 was an answer of sorts – unless you believe I wrote it in jest.

  • 5 – Frank,

    So, to continue after correcting your notion that I am pressing for gov’t control.

    You say: If you are a slave to a private person you at least have the value that he paid for you.

    You point contrasting being a slave to a gov’t vs a private person is your personal belief. It is based on either your faith or your personal bias, wherein you simply fail to notice anything that doesn’t fit with your belief.

    I can give you a huge list of gov’ts I would rather live under in preference to another huge list of particular individuals. I can also do the opposite–give you a list of individuals I would rather live under than another list of particular gov’ts.

    Same with your assertion that Libertarians abhor violence. Some may, that is true. But plenty of Libertarians support the “war on terror”. And all of the ones I have spoken to support gov’t when it suits their personal interests. That is, when the gov’t supports the value they place on property ownership and wealth as being the appropriate seats of power–as opposed to our possession of our human life and time being the seat of power and value.

  • @39

    Maybe so, Alan, but it ain’t much to build your whole persona about – centered around the opposition to ever-humble yours truly.

  • Clavos

    Cindy #42,

    Not to worry; I’ll even take messages for you.

    Can I bring my cat?

  • troll (#45), in that case, let me restate my question, which you pointedly evaded: what “promise” by the market has not been fulfilled and where is it written down?

  • troll

    serendipity Doug – I was talking to an elder today who said that air conditioning will make it into the fifth world

  • troll

    Alan the context of Cindy’s piece is the market

    further – Doug promised a trawler that would feed the whole village on some other politics thread which I’m sure you can find with your skills

  • Doug Hunter


    That depends on what you perceive that society has ‘promised’ and how you measure failure. My expectations are tempered by what I perceive to be fair and to reflect my contribution, by that measure I have received so much more than I have ever or will be able to ever give back (and so has everyone else). Even the least in society have things that untold millions sweated and bled and died for in prior generations. I can’t believe people can sit in the air conditioning on a computer in their free time and bitch about how bad we have it… it doesn’t compute and I simply have no concept of that worldview. I don’t see failure, I see success and progress and want to keep it moving forward and expand it to more people.

  • troll (#40), what “promise” would that be and where is it written down? The U.S. Constitution sets out our rights as citizens, and establishes a government to implement those rights. It also creates mechanisms to redress grievances. Politicians, of course, famously promise things while campaigning; but everyone of voting age understands that such “promises” are nonbinding and made only to get elected. So why should more people experience dissonance? What “promise” has the system failed to keep?

  • Clav,

    If you want to live in my phone, I don’t mind, as long as you don’t call out or rustle papers.

  • Clavos


    Why would anybody who doesn’t believe in the liberal canon ever vote Democratic?

  • troll

    Cindy’s question remains unanswered – why don’t more people experience a more severe dissonance in the face of the obvious failure of our ‘system’ to fulfill its promise?

  • Perhaps so, but the concept of liberty they espouse surely seems anachronistic to me.

  • Les Slater

    Roger, Libertarians are not conservatives, they are radical Utopian rightists.

  • @34

    It’s noteworthy those words are spoken by a man who hasn’t got a conviction in the bone of his body, and if he does, he’d surely done his best not to show it. In short, by a nitpicker par excellence.

    Jazz music excluded.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    To all –

    Frank said, “Libertarians abhor violence in all of its forms“.

    If that were true, then Dave Nalle wouldn’t have advocated for expanding the Iraq war to other countries in the Middle East and even Africa.

    No, I think the definition is more properly, “A libertarian is nothing more than a Republican who wants to get stoned and get laid.”

    The proof of this is the very strong tendency for libertarians to vote Republican – and yes, they DO have a documented strong tendency to vote Republican when there’s no viable Libertarian on the ballot. Granted, they are certainly more likely than Republicans to vote for a Democrat, but according to the strongly conservative Cato Institute, [the] data show that libertarians have generally voted Republican – 66 percent for Ronald Reagan in 1980, 74 percent for George H. W. Bush in 1988, and 72 percent for George W. Bush in 2000. But they are not diehard Republicans. John Anderson and Libertarian Party candidate Ed Clark got 17 percent of the libertarian vote in 1980, and Ross Perot took 33 percent of the libertarians in 1992.

    Yes, despite the fact that Libertarians are nominally for abortion rights and gay rights and against war, they still vote for the Republicans who are very strongly against such rights, and are strongly against decreasing our overseas military adventurism. I guess they feel their tax dollars are more important than abortion rights and gay rights and bringing the troops home….

  • Doug Hunter (#32), that’s just it. You self-styled “thinkers” (anarchist and libertards alike) are never going to get any practical ideas hashed out. You’re just going to diddle yourselves to death.

  • Do I detect a note of discord within the conservative camp?

  • Doug Hunter


    I’m sorry you don’t have your own ideas or feel strongly enough to defend them, you can still participate by taking the above-it-all condescending ass tone and denigrating ours. Looks to me like many ‘libertard’ ideas are already firmly embedded in our system and many more are being looked at on both sides of the aisle… once the thinkers have hashed them out you’ll get the memo when it’s OK for you to agree with them.

  • Les Slater


    Even though my 22 was addressing John, I was referring to Frank’s Utopia. My 18 had you agreeing with me rather than Frank. As for the rest of your 24, when I was writing ‘evil’ in my 22, a follow on of my 21 to John, I was thinking that my use of the term in that context would bring on a rejoinder from someone. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

    I never excused or attempted to excuse the failure of the Russian revolution to get beyond a certain point. For very concrete material reasons the leadership that evolved coming out of that attempt made a 180 that renounced the world revolution and turned more and more to the market as the mechanism they depended on. I don’t use such terms as ‘human nature’.

    It’s not that complex of a question. It has more to do with the working class understanding its relationship to society as a whole and making a determined effort to change that relationship.

  • Alan,

    Your observation is an excellent one, and the conclusion which you derived from it is applicable to not only the rants of keyboard warriors, but most members of our nation’s punditocracy. Over the last several years, far too many supposedly sane discussions of politics have dissolved into the appalling hybrid of a shouting match and urinating contest. Unfortunately, I see little hope for improvement on the horizon. As I am sure that both you and I can agree, this is a terrible shame.

  • troll

    …what he said – screw the poor

    and screw Kierkegaard and his horse as well

  • “When you think of your death, a short time hence, can you still feel comfortable making the choices you make?” #1

    Yes you can because you bear resentment against the human condition and your own mortality. Consequently, you do the best you can to gratify yourself in this short life – screw the poor because they probably deserve their lot since they are poor! – because you don’t know whether you’ll be among the saved when Jesus comes.

  • El Bicho

    actually, “the best way to shut a libertard down is” calling them a “libertard”. When you get out of sixth grade, you can probably have a more meaningful interaction with them

  • The system we have now aptly upholds the core principles of “freedom,” and anything other almost certainly shall not.

    Joseph Cotto (#25), you’re right. But let’s be frank. The ideologues on this thread, anarchist and “libertard” alike, aren’t the least bit interested in practical replacements for our capitalist system. They are interested only in bloviating to hear themselves bloviate, and in demonizing one another to score points. It’s not even sound and fury signifying nothing. It’s a tinny little squeak signifying less than nothing.

  • Question: Which kind of sociopolitical theory would be a more “libertine” alternative to classical liberalism (AKA free enterprise)?

    Socialism? Fascism? Communism? Marxism? Trotskyism? Leninism? Sandinism? Totalitarianism?

    Before any of my leftist readers spill their Flavor Aid, it would be wise to remember that the options which I listed above are the only truly possible replacements for the capitalist system at this current point in time. Each of these ideologies were started in the name of serving the “common good”, and all ended in dismal failure, though not without tremendous bloodshed.

    So, yes, I would gladly say that the system we have now aptly upholds the core principles of “freedom”, and that most anything other than it almost certainly shall not.

  • Doug Hunter


    Violence is preferable to slavery, except to those doing the enslaving. No ‘Utopia’ here, just real world pragmatism and a system that attempts to allow each person freedom as far as they can take it. Your freedom ends when it starts requiring me to participate.

    It’s interesting though that your #22 is something that from my perspective seems more fitting to you than I. The ‘some evil preventing the dream’ usually being capitalism, class warfare, human nature, that thing that happened to Stalin et al that resulted in you know… a few tens of millions murdered and imprisoned… little stuff like that.

    I’ve described very little on this site that could be viewed as Utopian, I’m under no illusion that everyone is going to see the world my way and become little Doug Hunter’s. The good thing about my ‘Utopia’ is you don’t have to. In fact, you don’t have to participate at all and are welcome to do as you please with the likeminded so long as you return the favor and not try and force my participation. That is libertarianism and that’s the most pragmatic compromise I’ve found. If you got something better please speak up… otherwise you’re advocating domination, slavery, and in the end the very violence you claim to oppose.

  • anarchimedes

    markets are antithetical to freedom so its always interesting to hear libertards talk about unfettered or “free markets.”

    the problem with marketheism is the exclusion of externalities. in markets there are buyers and sellers. they are the only ones included in market transactions. the problem is that economic transactions often include more than immediate buyers and sellers. and if freedom is the ability to participating in decision-making on matters that affect us by directly coming up with proposals and choosing accordingly then that by default rules out markets.

    markets and freedom doesnt mix.

    worse, when markets reign anti-democracy follows. look at our electoral system in the us for a prime example. in markets you vote with your dollars and the more dollars you have the more votes you have. this means the rich can “vote” many more times than the poor, thus distorting the outcomes. when private contributions to political campaigns are permitted the rich can flood the election and pretty much ensure their interests will be more closely catered to. so much so that political science has a theory for it: the investment theory of party competition.

    since we are individuals belonging to a social species and since freedom is the ability to participate in formulating options to the degree we are affected (ie if a decision doesnt affect me i have no say, or if a decision affects you more than me you have more say) and choosing accordingly then any social system we build must be tailored to accomodate participatory democracy. markets dont fit the bill.

    libertarians are wrong on what freedom is and their preferred institutions dont even deliver what they want.

    ps: the best way to shut a libertard down is to ask them for one example of a developed economy with a small government. they wont find a single example because free markets are so inefficient and ineffective that government intervention is necessary to build and sustain (hince the need for property rights, zoning laws, subsidies and bailouts) economies. the issue is not whether we should have small or big governments but whose side the governments are on. the issue is not whether we should have planned economies or not but how they are planned: by a class of coordinators or by workers and consumers via councils and a participatory democratic process?

  • Les Slater

    They offer a never attainable Utopia and always have the excuse that some evil is preventing this dream. In the meantime they spew reactionary defenses of the necessity of the real system’s violence in defending itself.

  • Les Slater

    But John, this ‘free’ society has never existed in history. It’s an illusion, or more accurately, a construct of those who need to obscure the real social relations in existing societies. It really boils down to an acceptance of the violence needed to maintain such societies. The abhorrence of violent coercion is nothing but a smokescreen. It’s Utopian but very convenient in defending society as it really exists.

  • Many libertarians believe in a concept called “self ownership” which identifies one’s own body as a piece of property, which can only be legitimately owned by that person. Any other situation is classified as slavery. Living in a society which recognizes a right to own material things other than your body, which are referred to as “property” is considered to be something necessary to exercise self ownership, and therefore not be a slave to others. The “free market” (a situation in which the state does not interfere with the market) could be considered necessary in this picture because government intervention is thought to create economic inefficiency which creates poverty. This puts people in a position where they are dependent on charity, government assistance, or need to deny other people’s freedom by stealing from them. Did my explanation help?

  • Perhaps, Cindy, this is what you were really getting at.

    “Start by admitting, From cradle to tomb
    It isn’t that a long a stay.
    Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
    It’s only a Cabaret, old chum
    And I love a Cabaret!”

  • Les Slater


    So you agree with me and not Frank?

  • Doug Hunter


    Does anything that qualifies as a ‘system’ not? A system will respond with violence to an aggressive threat or it will not remain a system for very long. In the absense of a ‘system’ someone who is willing to be violent will fill the vacuum unless you’re still believing the fairytale that with enough indoctrination the entire population to the man can become absolute pacifists. (it only takes 1 to screw the whole thing up and there’s 7 billion of us and counting)

  • Les Slater


    “Libertarians abhor violence in all of its forms.”

    Maybe, but forgive me if I doubt. The system you defend needs violence to survive. Abhorrence is often just a convenient facilitation of denying a reality which one doesn’t care to investigate too deeply, especially when the denier gains materially from that reality.

  • And, honestly, hasn’t the reflexive LOL (#8) outworn whatever infinitesimal usefulness it may once, eons ago, have possessed? Give it a break.

  • Adrien, hiya you. 🙂 Thanks for popping by.
    I hope you get to meet Roger and troll.

    (I have known Adrien since I was 17. She introduced me to anarchism…something I paid no attention to at the time…we pretty much lived it out without labels.)

  • Golly, them libertards sound like evil bastards, alright. A true anarchist man of action would shoot them down like rabid dogs, one by one or in a pack, wherever they can be found.

    Thank good Blogcritics provides a forum for one impotent group on the American political fringe to demonize another impotent group on the American political fringe. The last thing our country needs is for either of these cliques to become relevant in any way.

  • Oh the ‘you both’ I was referring to was Frank and Doug.

  • hmmm, before we get off to a gallop in the wrong direction, I was using the word ‘society’ in a generic way–as in: all humans live in societies. There was no implication intended that a gov’t is required or should control that society. Gov’t control is anathema to me, Frank. That is not what this post is about the liberal vs conservative battle for control of the gov’t.

    I will have to think about the rest of what you both are saying later.

  • adrienrain

    Those who need sweatshop labor to make a profit have already failed in business.

  • anarchimedes

    c wright mills once said freedom is not the ability to do as we please or choose from prechosen options, but to participate in creating proposals and choosing from them.

    i think that is spot on.

    the real problem here is how we talk past one another. what a libertard means when they say “freedom” is not the same as you or i or mills.

    economic freedom to libertards, especially those of the milton friedman school of thought, see it as the ability to do with what we have however we want regardless of how it affects others.

    so if i can legally own social goods and services and own the labor of others who make it for me to profit off of i can do with it as i please. if i am arianna huffington i can own huffington post and sell it to aol for millions of dollars even though it was hundreds of bloggers writing for free that created the “value” of *my* enterprise.

    but this doesnt really have anything to do with “freedom.” this really is about slavery. i have the right to own you and your labor and do with it as i will. imagine if the equivalent was in politics where due to lifes circumstances many people were compelled to sell their political rights to others in order to “make a living” and that the buyers could use their political rights however they wanted regardless of how it affected others.

    economic freedom is as doublespeak for economic slavery. we should aspire to be slave owners. thats what libertards are praising and aspiring to be. slave masters of labor.

  • lol Dr.D, same way his cat Minnie magically made her way onto my writer’s page…they are like Anonymous–everywhere!

  • Doug Hunter


    A pertinent question, the framework which they view the issue through doesn’t allow the author and the likeminded to see servitude or slavery to society as such. They can’t see it as slavery because in their mind you should willingly want to sacrifice yourself for the greater good (as they deem it of course, not you) without asking anything in return (which would lead back to the system libertarians favor where both sides agree), therefore no coersion/slavery/servitude necessary. Anyone that sees it different must have selfishness/greed/sickness/malignancy no doubt caused by evil capitalist propaganda which requires retraining, destroying, or at least shipped off to the gulag.

  • How did Clavos get into your phone, Cindy?


  • Frank

    Who is this society person? The society person is the powerful leader of the government or its oligarchy. So is it ok to be the slave of the government in the name of society, a government who has a monopoly on violence, or is it better for each individual to decide for themselves who to associate with? History has shown that when you are a slave to a government your life has NO value at all. If you are a slave to a private person you at least have the value that he paid for you. Being a slave to a government in the name of society is worse than being a slave to a private owner. A slave is a slave solely because of the threat of violence. Libertarians abhor violence in all of its forms. To say otherwise is to misunderstand libertanrians.

  • cindy

    er…that would be ‘hulk’

    How weird that the built-in spelling nazi on my phone just changes what I write.

  • cindy

    Darn…I knew I should have just gone with the ‘Let’s push all the gladiators into the sea’ theme.

    Really though, if feminist bulk can manage…


  • troll

    …how can trained gladiators afford to care?

  • cindy

    I think I missed a point I wanted to make.

    None of us will be here that much longer. When you think of your death, a short time hence, can you still feel comfortable making the choices that make? Do you feel okay with choices that excuse and defend circumstances in which some will never really get to taste life?