Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
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01-02-2014, 10:02 AM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(31-01-2014 10:01 PM)BnW Wrote:  Organized crime is rampant in that part of the world. It was probably worse than in some of the former Soviet bloc countries.... Suffice to say, nature abhors a vacuum and an unregulated, un protected economoy is a vacuum that will be filled by someone. In the case of Hong Kong and Taiwan, that vacuum was filled by the Triads and other asian organized crime gangs.

I live in Switzerland, but my business is based out of Hong Kong. You're totally wrong. Just look at the violent crime rates according to the CIA world factbook. Hong Kong has the lowest in the world. The most densely populated city with 7m people packed in a small space goes years without a homicide.

Besides, you're confusing issues. I'm not an anarchist that favors no government. Rather, I'm very pro-government, but, as a libertarian, I believe the role of government is to prevent coercion, rather than create it. If a government allows organized gangs to flourish, like the Triads, then it is not doing it's job a libertarian system, since those gangs exert coercion, and the goal is to prevent all coercion. If that happens, I agree, government needs to step up enforcement.

BUT, you use the term 'regulation'--which is the opposite. Regulation doesn't do anything to stop the organized crime gangs, to the contrary, it just means the government joins in and expands organized crime, increasing the amount of coercion. Say you're a shop owner, and some mafia boss tells you that you have to do exactly what he tells you or he'll haul you off at gunpoint and lock you in a cell. Now, say you add regulation so that, in addition to the mafia, you also have the police telling you to do exactly what they you or they'll haul you off at gunpoint and lock you in a cell. All you've done is double the problem! You've expanded, than reduced, the "gangs" exerting coercion on the shop owner. You've gone the opposite direction from the libertarian ideal, increasing coercion, not eliminating it. And having the government ADD regulation is going to do nothing to deter the organized crime gangs. Ridding a city of organized crime has nothing to do with regulation. In fact, under a libertarian system you're much better able to get rid of organized crime because the police are solely tasked with and laser-focused on eliminating all forms of coercion. In a traditional system, the elimination of coercion becomes a lower priority for the police, since their primary role is to create more of it.
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01-02-2014, 10:34 AM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 09:40 AM)cjlr Wrote:  Hong Kong is an interesting case because we actually can see what happened with "no government".

For once, we agree. Yes, we can see what happened. As you can see from that link, the Walled City existed for a long time, and before Hong Kong's libertarian experiment, when the police were busy creating coercion rather than blocking it, organized criminals (Triads) got stronger and stronger until they actually had more firepower than the government, and were strong enough to keep the government out.

Then Hong Kong reversed roles and decided the police should focus on eliminating coercion, rather than joining in. The tides began turning, and then finally the police got the upper hand and were able to rid the city of that last enclave of coercion and finally liberate the people.

If they did it the non-libertarian way, were the government just added more coercion through regulation so the police simply became competitors, sure maybe eventually the police could also have gotten the upper hand at some point. But, then, when that happened, the people wouldn't be liberated--they'd just be slaving for a different tyrant that can at times be even more callous than the criminal gangs.

If New Jersey was still run by criminal gangs, they would never have shut down the turnpike to taunt a rival gang. They'd probably have been more pragmatic, wanting the toll revenue to keep flowing in, and the economy to keep prospering so they had a bigger pie to take a slice of. However, the current mafia boss, Chris Christie, was so irrational that he sacrificed himself and his constituents for petty revenge. He knew that shutting down the turnpike would possibly result in deaths by blocking ambulances and emergency vehicles, which actually happened, but he didn't give a fuck because in NJ there is no rival criminal gang--he's got a complete monopoly and feels he can do whatever he wants with complete impunity.

IMO, what's much better, though, than having any type of gang operate the roadways, be it criminal or government, is to have private entrepreneurs who are not allowed to exert coercion at all, and only make money by having happy customers who can get from point a to point b easily. Then they'd be installing things like inductive charging coils in the road so all-electric cars could charge as they drove. They'd be working with consortiums to make roads computer-friendly, with digital communication, computer-scannable lanes and congestion indicators, to make driverless cars viable. After all, if the turnpike was operated like a business, with fierce competition, the only way for them to succeed is to provide the best service at the best price. They don't want to lose customers who die in crashes. They don't want to lose tolls as the roads become parking lots and nobody can get through. The reason the roads are such a mess is precisely because, today, they are run by gangs that have absolute monopolies and face no competition.

You're fighting a strawman when you suggest classic liberals are anti-government and want to allow criminal gangs to threaten people. It's the opposite--we want a strong government, we're just advocating the type of government that best rids society of the evils of coercion.
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01-02-2014, 10:41 AM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 08:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  Of course we can judge which laws are likely to be good and which are not.

What method do you propose to achieve that? Obviously it doesn't exist in the US. The US passes some 80,000 new laws a year, most of which are ladled with pork and special privileges for the well-connected. The US locks up the highest percentage of its people of any country in the world, and does it mostly for non-violent offenses. And it's been like that for centuries--remember the Salem witch hunts were also simply enforcement of democratically approved laws. So clearly in the US no such filter exists to block the passage of bad laws. Where has this magical system that filters out only the good laws ever been implemented?

IMO, I've never seen or heard of any viable proposal to filter only good laws. The only solution I ever hear is "Well _I_ know what's a good law vs. a bad one", implying the solution is to grant the speaker absolute dictatorial powers. The only solution I've seen to the problem is to limit the scope of jurisdiction, so that laws apply to a limited geographic area (ie state/local), and then if you get too many bad laws, people start leaving, creating a check and balance. If the laws are universal (ie federal laws), that check and balance is gone, and I've yet to see any viable mechanism to filter out only the "good" laws.
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01-02-2014, 11:21 AM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 10:34 AM)frankksj Wrote:  You're fighting a strawman when you suggest classic liberals are anti-government and want to allow criminal gangs to threaten people.

This appears to be fantasy.

It is certainly not what I said.

The question, then, is where you got it from...

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01-02-2014, 11:46 AM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 11:21 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 10:34 AM)frankksj Wrote:  You're fighting a strawman when you suggest classic liberals are anti-government and want to allow criminal gangs to threaten people.

This appears to be fantasy. It is certainly not what I said. The question, then, is where you got it from...

Uh, it was from your last post. I brought up the example of HK, BnW rebutted, and you added to the rebuttal 'see what happened with "no government"'. This rebuttal is an example of a crude, poorly executed strawman because nobody on this thread, certainly not me, has ever advocated 'no government'. I've said repeatedly I'm very much pro-government. Without government, armed gangs rule, and create violent, bloody terrified communities. Somalia is a perfect example. In fact, I'd say that I'm a lot more "pro-government" and "pro-rule-of-law" than most because, at least in the US, the rule of law, the ultimate law of the land, is the Constitution. It defines what government is and what it does. Yet, only a handful of libertarians insist that the country must operate under the rule of law and the government must be strong and obey the constitution. The vast majority have no problem throwing the rule of law in the trash and advocate things that are clearly unconstitutional.

So, when you offer a rebuttal against "no government", what is that about? Who were you rebutting? Who was advocating a system of "no government"? Who were you trying to address?

A well executed strawman, by contrast, is one where you the point you're arguing is similar to, and easily confused with, the one your opponent is making. Thus, your attack on the strawman can be confused with an attack on your opponent. However, when you make a strawman that is the exact opposite of what your opponent is saying, it accomplishes nothing. When I say 100 times "I'm pro-government, and favor strong law enforcement", and then you respond with "Aha, but look what happens when there's no government!", that's just idiotic, imo.
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01-02-2014, 12:07 PM (This post was last modified: 01-02-2014 12:12 PM by cjlr.)
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 11:46 AM)frankksj Wrote:  Uh, it was from your last post. I brought up the example of HK, BnW rebutted, and you added to the rebuttal 'see what happened with "no government"'. This rebuttal is an example of a crude, poorly executed strawman because nobody on this thread, certainly not me, has ever advocated 'no government'.

Indeed. And I said or implied as such precisely nowhere.

Not that I'd expect you to recognize a joke...

(01-02-2014 11:46 AM)frankksj Wrote:  I've said repeatedly I'm very much pro-government. Without government, armed gangs rule, and create violent, bloody terrified communities. Somalia is a perfect example. In fact, I'd say that I'm a lot more "pro-government" and "pro-rule-of-law" than most because, at least in the US, the rule of law, the ultimate law of the land, is the Constitution. It defines what government is and what it does. Yet, only a handful of libertarians insist that the country must operate under the rule of law and the government must be strong and obey the constitution. The vast majority have no problem throwing the rule of law in the trash and advocate things that are clearly unconstitutional.

That's nice.

Your point is?

(01-02-2014 11:46 AM)frankksj Wrote:  So, when you offer a rebuttal against "no government", what is that about? Who were you rebutting? Who was advocating a system of "no government"? Who were you trying to address?

(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)frankksj Wrote:  [T]he HK administrator, John Cowperthwaite, convinced Britain to try an experiment in pure laissez-faire capitalism, with essentially no regulation or government interference.

The, I would have assumed self-evident, point being, "essentially" no regulation or government interference was anything but.

(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)frankksj Wrote:  A well executed strawman, by contrast, is one where you the point you're arguing is similar to, and easily confused with, the one your opponent is making. Thus, your attack on the strawman can be confused with an attack on your opponent. However, when you make a strawman that is the exact opposite of what your opponent is saying, it accomplishes nothing. When I say 100 times "I'm pro-government, and favor strong law enforcement", and then you respond with "Aha, but look what happens when there's no government!", that's just idiotic, imo.

Good thing that isn't what happened. Well - outside your head.

EDIT:
Incidentally:
(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Hong Kong was a country--a British crown colony, like Canada.

Such an incorrect statement is not really a great indicator as to what follows...

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01-02-2014, 12:39 PM (This post was last modified: 01-02-2014 12:51 PM by JAH.)
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
frankksj, I will limit my post here to one thing because I have seen you propose it before. The privatization of the highway system. I have noted that you live in Switzerland, I wonder if you are at all familiar with the realities of the US and its highway system.

About 30 months ago I traveled on I-10 (Interstate 10) in western Texas. I have described that stretch of I-10 as so straight and so empty that one could safely put the car into cruise control and fall asleep for great stretches of time. There is no way a capitalist could make enough profit off of that route to even keep the lanes painted. I know county roads in northern Sonoma Co. in California that again serve so few people that they could not begin to pay for the maintenance nor improvements or repairs if something like a rock slide should occur.

The US is a big country much of it lightly populated. Many roads required for various purposes could not possibly generate enough revenue to maintain and improve them.

An excellent argument can be made that not aiding railroads and relying on truck and auto traffic and aiding the construction of highways was a mistake. The chance to do something to change that has passed.

I will acknowledge there are multiple highways particularly in urban areas where a reasonable use fee could pay for the maintenance. There are even rural area highways (I-5 in California) that could be supported by reasonable user fees. The great majority of highways in the US need to be financed collectively. They could not be supported by their users unless the fees were prohibitive.

Edit: I should add that in the community I live in there are some streets that are privately maintained. I am not sure of the history of this but there are multiple signs saying "Not a City Maintained Street". These are typically the most poorly maintained streets in town. Rough uneven pavement and often potholes are common. These streets are often not heavily used by any but those in the immediate neighborhood still they are opened to all. It is an example of a public benefit only maintained by its immediate users and it has been a failed system. Even if the casual users payed a fee it would still not be enough to maintain them.
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01-02-2014, 12:39 PM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
WTF?! So now you're saying that when you wrote "'see what happened with "no government"' that was a joke? If so, you're right "Not that I'd expect you to recognize a joke..." Whatever humor is there goes over my head since it was an example of what happens with no government.

(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)frankksj Wrote:  [T]he HK administrator, John Cowperthwaite, convinced Britain to try an experiment in pure laissez-faire capitalism, with essentially no regulation or government interference.

The, I would have assumed self-evident, point being, "essentially" no regulation or government interference was anything but.

You mean after all these posts you're still unable to grasp the concept that a government which fights coercion instead of initiating it through regulation and interference is not the same as "no government"???? All my 5,000 word diatribes went over your head??? You're as confused as all those guys who write "Somalia is a libertarian paradise", unable to get around the concept that a libertarian paradise is one where people are free from coercion and violence, able to exercise free will, and that lawless places like Somalia are rampant with coercion and violence--which is ironically the system that non-libertarians are defending?!


(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)cj Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 08:17 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Hong Kong was a country--a British crown colony, like Canada.

Such an incorrect statement is not really a great indicator as to what follows...

According to Wikipedia: Hong Kong "The British officially established a Crown colony..." And Wikipedia:Crown Colony lists both Hong Kong and Canada as crown colonies. Are you saying wikipedia got it wrong? You're saying HK and Canada aren't crown colonies?

As far as whether a crown colony is, in fact, a separate country is, admittedly, a gray area. The CIA World factbook, the OECD and many others did list HK as a separate country before Britain handed it back to China, just like they always treated Canada as a separate country.

So what, specifically, are you refuting? That HK was a crown colony? Or that it was commonly regarded as a separate country?
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01-02-2014, 01:09 PM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 12:39 PM)JAH Wrote:  ... western Texas... There is no way a capitalist could make enough profit off of that route to even keep the lanes painted.

The big mistake you're making, imo, is you're only looking at what the government gave--and not what it took away. When all transportation was private, the free market built 250,000 miles of rail in the US, with air conditioned trains running at 100 mph, and an all-electric Metro in every town with a population over 10,000, with vigorous competition among 2500 transportation companies. They were even developing vacuum-evacuated tubes that would eventually transport people at nearly 4,000 miles per hour. Then the government confiscated all the privately owned transportation companies, oversaw the dismantling of all the trains and rails, ripped up 90% of the tracks, destroyed nearly every one of the local metro companies, and decided instead of safe, fast, non-polluting mass-transit, all Americans should instead use gasoline-burning automobiles on roads provided by the government. Naturally, all development on the new technologies, like vac-tube transport, was abandoned--no entrepreneur would invest his life savings bringing such a system to market knowing that if it was successful the government would just confiscate it anyway. Now, 100 years later, all we have is the government-owned rail, Amtrak, which is so terrible, that's the reason why you were driving on those government roads.

So don't just look at the roads the government you, look at what the government took from you! Had government not taken over, instead of spending days behind the wheel through desolate parts of Texas, you'd probably have hopped in your vac-tube transport and gone from Florida to California in about 20 minutes. If I kidnapped you, locking you in a my basement for 10 years, giving you food and water, you wouldn't be saying "Oh, frank is such a great guy for feeding me. I would have starved without him." That's silly to focus only what I give, and ignore what I took. You have to weigh both to see if what you got is more than what was taken from you.

Now, you do have a point that one "advantage" to government infrastructure is universal access. The I10 is a bad example since, although it passes through desolate areas in Texas, there are densely populated areas on either side that need a transportation route. However, the point is valid and a good example is Alaska's "bridge to nowhere"--a $398 million bridge connecting an island of 50 residents. Sure, the 50 residents could never have each put up $8 million to get their bridge, and would have continued to use ferries. But, government was able to shift the cost to other taxpayers, effectively letting the folks on Gravina Island, spend other people's money. Yes, the same thing happens in other remote areas, where their infrastructure is subsidized by taxpayers elsewhere. And, I agree with you, under a private system it would be harder to live in remote areas where infrastructure isn't commercially viable.

But look at the sacrifices we make to get universal access! Climate change and pollution are largely caused by the government's take over of transportation, forcing us to use internal-combustion automobiles. And, remember, that at the time government told the people this change was for their own good, although now the truth is out that it was actually the lobbying efforts of GM, Firestone, Standard Oil, and Philips petroleum that were responsible for the laws which forced the change from electric transportation to gasoline-powered cars. Look at the millions of people who die in car crashes. Also, think how more mobile we'd be as a society if we had a modern transportation system that could zip us around safely at hypersonic speeds. I imagine we'd have a lot less prejudice, racism, and other social ills if we were more mobile.
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01-02-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Why are American liberterians so absurdly insane?
(01-02-2014 10:41 AM)frankksj Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 08:19 AM)Chas Wrote:  Of course we can judge which laws are likely to be good and which are not.

What method do you propose to achieve that? Obviously it doesn't exist in the US. The US passes some 80,000 new laws a year, most of which are ladled with pork and special privileges for the well-connected. The US locks up the highest percentage of its people of any country in the world, and does it mostly for non-violent offenses. And it's been like that for centuries--remember the Salem witch hunts were also simply enforcement of democratically approved laws. So clearly in the US no such filter exists to block the passage of bad laws. Where has this magical system that filters out only the good laws ever been implemented?

IMO, I've never seen or heard of any viable proposal to filter only good laws. The only solution I ever hear is "Well _I_ know what's a good law vs. a bad one", implying the solution is to grant the speaker absolute dictatorial powers. The only solution I've seen to the problem is to limit the scope of jurisdiction, so that laws apply to a limited geographic area (ie state/local), and then if you get too many bad laws, people start leaving, creating a check and balance. If the laws are universal (ie federal laws), that check and balance is gone, and I've yet to see any viable mechanism to filter out only the "good" laws.

I am using the same methodology you use of stating how it should be, not necessarily how it is or even could be.

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