Differences in political views.
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17-09-2013, 08:08 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
There is nothing substantially different in actions by any of the parties that exist in US politics.

What has Obama done differently than bush?

What does a libertarian do or want that is different than a republican or democrat?
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17-09-2013, 10:30 AM
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:What does a libertarian do or want that is different than a republican or democrat?

Speaking as a libertarian (in the original sense of classic liberalism), there's only one difference: rejecting the use of violence (ie threats of physical force to coerce individuals into doing things against their will). Libertarianism, imo, is NOT a position on the political spectrum. The left say libertarians are right, and the right say libertarians are left. But if you go to a libertarian meetup, you'll meet people who are left and want a strong safety net and a system that focuses on equality, even socialists, like Noam Chomsky, identify as "libertarian". And you'll see the far right, like Ron Paul, religious Christian conservative. The only thing they have in common is belief in the non-aggression principle, namely they try to achieve their goals through voluntary means, rather than with physical force. I've never met a "classic" libertarian who started out that way. You always start out believing force is the way to achieve your goals. But, over time you realize it's possible that you're wrong, and so you shouldn't force other people to do it your way.

I'm from the left. So to me, it was realizing I was being ignorant and hypocritical to think that if someone else (ie the police) were initiating force at my direction, this wasn't violence. I accepted that violence is in the eye of the victim--whenever an individual is threatened with violence it is violence whether I'm holding the gun or if I voted someone else to do it on my behalf. I never gave up my goals or worldview, which is still 'left', and I tend to agree with fellow leftists on most issues and the only time we reach a disagreement is when they want to use violence to accomplish those goals. If I had to choose between voting for a President who thought exactly like me in every possible way and was going to pass laws requiring everyone to do all the things I think they should be doing, _OR_ a President, like Ron Paul, who is the exact opposite of me in every possible way BUT he has committed to not force his views on everyone, I would vote for the latter every time. Whenever I get into disagreements with the left, they always think I must be right because it's just assumed that if I want the same things they do I'll use force to get them. If I don't want to use force to get them, then I must not want them.

I've also met the right-libertarians who still believe in god and their religious rules, BUT, they've come to accept that other people have their own beliefs which must be tolerated. I have nothing in common with them, but since we both agree not to force the other into doing it our way, we get along fine and peacefully co-exist. The non-libertarian right, however, like Santorum, Bachman, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reily, etc., make my blood boil because I disagree with them on everything, and those club-wielding neanderthals will, when they get the chance, use force to make me live my life they want me to. It's that intense disgust over their use of force that made me realize it would hypocritical for me to similarly use force to get my way.

As far as the difference between Democrats and Republicans, I agree with you, they talk very different, but their policies are the same. However, since I don't identify with either of them, it's natural that from my vantage point they're both violent, club-wielding brutes.
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17-09-2013, 02:35 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
(17-09-2013 10:30 AM)frankksj Wrote:  
Quote:What does a libertarian do or want that is different than a republican or democrat?

Speaking as a libertarian (in the original sense of classic liberalism), there's only one difference: rejecting the use of violence (ie threats of physical force to coerce individuals into doing things against their will). Libertarianism, imo, is NOT a position on the political spectrum. The left say libertarians are right, and the right say libertarians are left. But if you go to a libertarian meetup, you'll meet people who are left and want a strong safety net and a system that focuses on equality, even socialists, like Noam Chomsky, identify as "libertarian". And you'll see the far right, like Ron Paul, religious Christian conservative. The only thing they have in common is belief in the non-aggression principle, namely they try to achieve their goals through voluntary means, rather than with physical force. I've never met a "classic" libertarian who started out that way. You always start out believing force is the way to achieve your goals. But, over time you realize it's possible that you're wrong, and so you shouldn't force other people to do it your way.

I'm from the left. So to me, it was realizing I was being ignorant and hypocritical to think that if someone else (ie the police) were initiating force at my direction, this wasn't violence. I accepted that violence is in the eye of the victim--whenever an individual is threatened with violence it is violence whether I'm holding the gun or if I voted someone else to do it on my behalf. I never gave up my goals or worldview, which is still 'left', and I tend to agree with fellow leftists on most issues and the only time we reach a disagreement is when they want to use violence to accomplish those goals. If I had to choose between voting for a President who thought exactly like me in every possible way and was going to pass laws requiring everyone to do all the things I think they should be doing, _OR_ a President, like Ron Paul, who is the exact opposite of me in every possible way BUT he has committed to not force his views on everyone, I would vote for the latter every time. Whenever I get into disagreements with the left, they always think I must be right because it's just assumed that if I want the same things they do I'll use force to get them. If I don't want to use force to get them, then I must not want them.

I've also met the right-libertarians who still believe in god and their religious rules, BUT, they've come to accept that other people have their own beliefs which must be tolerated. I have nothing in common with them, but since we both agree not to force the other into doing it our way, we get along fine and peacefully co-exist. The non-libertarian right, however, like Santorum, Bachman, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reily, etc., make my blood boil because I disagree with them on everything, and those club-wielding neanderthals will, when they get the chance, use force to make me live my life they want me to. It's that intense disgust over their use of force that made me realize it would hypocritical for me to similarly use force to get my way.

As far as the difference between Democrats and Republicans, I agree with you, they talk very different, but their policies are the same. However, since I don't identify with either of them, it's natural that from my vantage point they're both violent, club-wielding brutes.

Do you know who Derrick Jensen is?
I agree that people shouldn't need to use violence in an ideal world and if it was possible to change things without using violence than I would prefer that. Take Honduras for example: their previous government was voted into power, was a leftist and was changing the landscape of Honduras. The Obama administration along with a few wealthy Honduras land owners (the old oligarchy) overthrew the elected guy and now many leftist are in jail. Would you tell those leftists that they did the right thing in not making sure those old oligarchs were able to come back into power?
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17-09-2013, 05:33 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:Do you know who Derrick Jensen is?

No, although reading his wikipedia page, I don't like his position that he “sees civilization to be inherently unsustainable and based on violence.” To me that's just giving up. I think there are civilizations, like the Swiss, that have done a pretty decent job of keeping violence to a minimum and living in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Having lived there for 10 years, they recycle everything, have no landfills, you can drink the water from all the major rivers flowing their big cities, pollution is kept to a sustainable level. And if you ask “why”, you can see policies that encourage this. For example, you pay for trash service by buying a 5 franc sticker that goes on an approx 10 liter trash bag (ie pay for volume) with fines for not recycling. This discourages waste. As opposed to other countries where it's a flat fee and you can throw away as much as you want.

Quote:Would you tell those leftists that they did the right thing in not making sure those old oligarchs were able to come back into power?

That is a VERY tough question. Obviously the libertarian ideal is that violence was never used in the first place, all men were always treated equally and given equal opportunities. BUT, because most of those Latin American countries have had very powerful, omnipresent and corrupt governments that used force to strip the wealth from the common man and concentrate it in the hands of the elite, what is the right thing to do? I agree that the libertarian answer of 'stop using violence', and just let the oligarchs keep their plundered wealth, is not fair. Since violence was already introduced into the system by the oligarchs, the fair thing to do is to use violence to take back the ill-gotten gains. I totally agree with the left on this.

However, as a libertarian, you dig deeper and see if the natural urge to use violence (a) is even going to work, and (b) if there's a non-violent way to accomplish the same thing. As far as 'if it's even going to work', assuming what you say about Honduras is correct (I have no knowledge), the answer is obviously 'No, it did NOT work' because the government maintained the power to use violence (this time to reverse the tide) and the target of this violence (the oligarchs) is very concentrated on people with lots of power and influence, they just turned the tables around and, again, are back to using violence to plunder from the people. And this seems to be the case most of the time. Laws (like regulations) are passed to target specific groups (like banks), and because the target is so narrow (a handful of bankers), and the beneficiaries are so broad (a huge public that isn't paying much attention), the bankers focus all their energies on the legislation and always end up writing their own regulation, which is couched as “consumer protection”, but in fact just let's them keep using force to plunder from the public. See my other posts about taxi kingpins vs. Lyft, Avis & Hertz vs. airport car sharing, the regulation of the public transport industry in the 1930's that destroyed the industry and forced Americans to all use cars, etc., etc.

Therefore, although I agree it's not fair, I think that from a practical standpoint the people of Honduras would have been better off to put in place a government with a constitution and system of checks and balances that stripped the government of the ability to use force. Like the US Constitution, disperse the power as much as possible to the local level, have a list of a few enumerated powers at the national level, all of which are defensive (freedom of speech, etc.), and a system of checks and balances (like a Supreme Court) that will strike down any laws where the national government strays from those enumerated powers. I know this means the oligarchs get away free and get to keep their plundered wealth, and I know this is not fair. But, I think as a practical matter, this is what's best in the long term. Forming a new government that still has the power to pick winners and losers means that the winners will STILL be a small group of individuals who have the most connections to government, whether it be the Oligarchs, or in the case of socialist/communist uprising, the communist party.

I especially think this is true because of part (b), is there a non-violent way. I believe there is. First, focus on higher and progressive property taxes at the local level. Property taxes do not require any violence or coercion to enforce; they are automatic liens against the property which, if not paid, must be paid with interest & fines before the property can be transferred. This would have the effect of transferring a lot of wealth from the oligarchs (who own the lion's share of the property, particularly high-end property). And property taxes, even here in the US, because they are local, always get you the most efficient use. They pay for all the schools, roads, and essential infrastructure to make the towns livable. There is nothing that an oligarch could do to turn this power around on anyone because there is no 'force' to turn around. Property taxes are unavoidable. If the oligarchs don't like them, then they can just move, at which point their property will sharply drop in value and thus get distributed further down the economic ladder anyway. In addition to property taxes, use shame vs. pride and social responsibility. The press should shame those who live extravagantly and don't donate generously to the poor, and praise those who do. Town leaders should convince the wealthy in their town that, when they're dead and gone, they won't be able to spend any of their money, but their name and their reputation will endure on forever. Do you want to die leaving more money to your spoiled kid than he can spend, and have him live his life always fearful and trying to guard it? Or build a hospital and university in your name, something will give you a great legacy for centuries to come (like Harvard, Stanford, Brown, etc.)? Nearly all the great institutions in the US, like all the top universities, started as charitable gifts from wealthy people wanting to leave a legacy. As I recall, when you rank the US universities by quality of education, the top 46 were all privately funded by charity. The left balks at the idea of charity. But what is charity? Is it not a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the less privileged? Is it not giving them education, and health care? Isn't redistribution through taxation of income doing the exact same thing, only with a threat of violence? Can't you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so that rewarding good behavior is better than holding a gun to someone's head and threatening to pull the trigger for behaving badly? When violence is used against the oligarchs, they feel justified in returning the violence back again as a form of self-defense, and will fight back with all their might, and transfer their wealth out of the country. If they feel rewarded for doing good things, there is much less resistance, and I think history shows it works much better.
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17-09-2013, 06:21 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
@I and I,

Also, I think one of the most important things to fix first in such developing countries with high inequality is monetary policy. These governments nearly always have a fiat currency that they print lots of, which is disastrous because it's a massive transfer of wealth from the poor & middle class and is a form of non-transparent taxation oh the most vulnerable, but most importantly, it completely changes the way people behave and see the world and plan for the future. You're never going to save and invest for your future if you live in constant fear that the value of your savings is going to be wiped out with inflation. I wrote another post showing how the Swiss, who enjoy 0% inflation, just rent their homes, choosing to save and invest their money planning for their future. Americans, however, are anxious to buy a home because the prices keep spiraling out of control and we live in fear of inflation. In these poor countries with rampant inflation, this fear is multiplied exponentially. They never think about sacrificing and saving now to invest in their children's education or to start a business, because they know that it will all get wiped out through inflation. So they have to live for today only—get what they can today, and don't think about tomorrow. This isn't really disputed. Paul Krugman, a big cheerleader for a fiat currency, agrees, similarly concluding that printing more of a fiat currency encourages “borrowing and spending” now whereas a stable currency with 0% inflation encourages saving and investing (which he disparages as “sitting on cash”). But what's better for their long term growth? If a man has $500 he uses it to buy a $1,000 tv now, putting the other $500 on credit that he'll be paying off using all his spare income for a long time, never saving anything? Or to put that $500 to a savings investment to start a business, save for his child's university education, or buy stocks that will provide a stable retirement? Krugman says very clearly in his opinion it's better to borrow and spend now. And he's right if you're only looking at the current gdp at this moment. If everybody spent all their income buying stuff and incurred $100,000 in debt, the gdp figures for 2014 would soar. But what about next year, or 20 years from now? Everybody will still be living paycheck to paycheck, spending everything as fast as it comes in to buy stuff and make the minimum payments on their credit cards.

Let the facts speak themselves. Which country has the highest household net worth in the world? It's the Swiss, at $700,000 per household. And it's based on following a gold standard and having 0% inflation. Look at the US's historic gini co-efficient. The poor began getting wiped out PRECISELY when the US went on a fiat currency, and ever since then, they've lost ground no matter what party is in charge or what policy is in effect. What about the countries with fiat currencies that have endured 10% inflation for decades? Can you find even ONE example where it didn't result in all the wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, and the masses living in poverty with no education, no entrepreneurial spirit? Serious question. If you can't find even one example where inflation has not been a disaster, why do Keynesian economists love inflation so much and keep saying we “need a healthy dose of inflation”? Is it not very short-sighted to encourage the 'live for today and don't think about tomorrow' philosophy that condemns people to an unbreakable poverty trap and robs them of optimism about their future?
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17-09-2013, 06:57 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
What mao said and I agree with him is that each countries situation is different so one countries path to change might not require the same strategies. And technically we know our countries situation best so we shouldn't be immediately writing off other revolutionary movements simply because they used force. The hardcore pacifists do that.

Here is Derrick Jensen speaking on "hope"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7pYUzdvY...374BDF6C4B

The current economic system is based on force and is predicated on force from it's past to it's present. A non-violent person supporting reform of/ while maintaining a violent system is a contradiction.

The french resistance during occupied france in ww2 applied the same methods and tactics that so called terrorists used.

check this video out on the myth of non-violence.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssYBZmK9hmA
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17-09-2013, 07:16 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
Have you seen the movie The Butler, which depicts the passive, non-violent resistance of MLK and his followers, vs. the violence of the Black Panthers?

Sure, since whites used so much violence against blacks for so long to rob them, it's natural to think the appropriate response is to use violence to get back what was lost. But, the non-violent approach proved a lot more effective in the long run.

I also see huge logic flaws in some of the statements in that video "Pacifying Resistance". Like, referring to corporations he says: "you have to stop them through some force, and it can be by violent means... Could you have stopped Ted Bundy by peaceful means?"

Of course the only way to stop the initiation of force is to use force DEFENSIVELY. Ted Bundy was initiating force, so only force could be used to stop him. He's a master of the obvious. Nobody's arguing that you should let Ted Bundy go around killing people and not use force to stop him. Duh. But he thinks that because you need to use force (violence) to stop a killer, that somehow justifies using violence against someone who is peacefully minding his own business?! I find that absurd.

He also makes absurd generalizations, saying corporations are run by psychopaths. This is absurd. There are 125 MILLION corporations in the world, 99% of which are small/medium size, family run businesses. So he's saying the girl selling lemonade in her front yard is necessarily a psychopath because she's got herself a business?! Everybody who engages in commerce is a psychopath and must be dealt with violently?! Since every working class non-business owner works for a corporation (even if it's the government), shutting down all corporations means the entire population will be unemployed hunter gatherers. If there's no commerce, there's nothing to tax, and therefore no government. He wants to send us back to stone age.
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17-09-2013, 07:39 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
(17-09-2013 07:16 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Have you seen the movie The Butler, which depicts the passive, non-violent resistance of MLK and his followers, vs. the violence of the Black Panthers?

Sure, since whites used so much violence against blacks for so long to rob them, it's natural to think the appropriate response is to use violence to get back what was lost. But, the non-violent approach proved a lot more effective in the long run.

I also see huge logic flaws in some of the statements in that video "Pacifying Resistance". Like, referring to corporations he says: "you have to stop them through some force, and it can be by violent means... Could you have stopped Ted Bundy by peaceful means?"

Of course the only way to stop the initiation of force is to use force DEFENSIVELY. Ted Bundy was initiating force, so only force could be used to stop him. He's a master of the obvious. Nobody's arguing that you should let Ted Bundy go around killing people and not use force to stop him. Duh. But he thinks that because you need to use force (violence) to stop a killer, that somehow justifies using violence against someone who is peacefully minding his own business?! I find that absurd.

He also makes absurd generalizations, saying corporations are run by psychopaths. This is absurd. There are 125 MILLION corporations in the world, 99% of which are small/medium size, family run businesses. So he's saying the girl selling lemonade in her front yard is necessarily a psychopath because she's got herself a business?! Everybody who engages in commerce is a psychopath and must be dealt with violently?! Since every working class non-business owner works for a corporation (even if it's the government), shutting down all corporations means the entire population will be unemployed hunter gatherers. If there's no commerce, there's nothing to tax, and therefore no government. He wants to send us back to stone age.

Do you really think when an activist says corporations, they are referring to a girl selling lemonade?
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17-09-2013, 07:58 PM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2013 08:03 PM by frankksj.)
RE: Differences in political views.
Quote:Do you really think when an activist says corporations, they are referring to a girl selling lemonade?

What is he referring to, then? Does he mean only corporations that have more than 10,000 people are run by psychopaths? So, if the girl selling lemonade has some secret recipe that everybody loves and eventually she grows her business into a corporation with 9,000 people, she's still not a psychopath? But as soon as the employee count exceeds 10,000, she must somehow become a psychopath? Can you clarify what makes one group of individuals working towards a certain economic goal (ie a corporation) psychopaths, and another group is not?

Also, WHY is it necessary to be a psychopath to be successful? Don't those people with mental illnesses tend to be destitute homeless people wandering the streets? Is there any empirical evidence to suggest that people who are successful in enterprise must also have a mental disorder?

What I will give you is that those who start a business and persuade the government to grant them special privileges (ie use government force to transfer wealth their way) are immoral and unscrupulous. And in this way, the immoral and unscrupulous TEND to rise to the top because when two people are competing and one has a gun and forces you to buy his product and the other doesn't, the violent one with the gun wins. If two people are trying to run a lemonade business and one is a decent, moral person who tries to make his lemonade the best it can be, and the other lobbies a politician to give him an outrageous contract for the government to buy lemonade at $20/glass, it's true the immoral will probably do better than the moral one, and have the bigger company. To me the solution is not to give politicians the power to make such special deals with immunity. If you have a free market system where the consumer picks the best tasting lemonade, then the moral businessman who makes the best product will win, and the immoral one will be bankrupt without his ability to use violence.

Thus I disagree with the entire premise that the solution to this problem is to give the government MORE power to pick winners and losers--that just makes the problem WORSE. And, I think that just because in a corrupt economy where the government picks winners and losers the most immoral tend to rise to the top, that does NOT mean that in a free market economy everybody who rises to the top must be immoral too.

Further, even those who are running the post powerful coercive organizations, imo, are generally not mentally-ill psychopaths, but rather smart people who lack morals.

edit: Case in point, the richest man in the world, Carlos Slim of Mexico, is a notorious rent seeker, using government privilege to get monopolies. I've actually met his son once. They are NOT mentally-ill psychopaths. They are shrewd men who know how to work the governmental system to their advantage. But, I don't think Warren Buffer or Steve Jobs are psychopaths, or even immoral. They just made good products people wanted to buy.
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17-09-2013, 08:20 PM
RE: Differences in political views.
I don't believe in morality so to me nobody is "immoral" or moral. You mentioned people that exploit other human beings (many human beings) for profit. The use of force is implemented to derive their profits which is why I mentioned earlier that I don't understand how a person can support the current system and say they are non-violent.
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