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[P]
In Defense of Public Intellectuals

By ubu in MLP
Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:29:35 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr. gave a spectacular address on September 28th, 2001, the occasion of the opening of the Von Mises Institute's new campus. Entitled "In Defense of Public Intellectuals", its abstract from the Mises.org site follows:

We should never tire in our mission to point out that there is an alternative to the Politically Correctly Left and the Militarized Right: that there is freedom itself, the genuine article, and a tradition of thought in defense of freedom unmatched by any other in its rigor and dedication.
The speech is a masterpiece of historical, political, and socio-economic thought in the praxeological tradition.


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Poll
Government is
o God walking the earth 4%
o The unification of humanity 5%
o The first step toward socialism 8%
o A necessary evil 34%
o A mere social institution 17%
o A pain in the ass 8%
o A cancerous tumor on society 12%
o The systemic source of all social ills 8%

Votes: 107
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o spectacula r address
o Mises.org
o Also by ubu


Display: Sort:
In Defense of Public Intellectuals | 83 comments (67 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
praxeological (3.66 / 6) (#1)
by garlic on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 12:58:06 PM EST

praxeological

how the heck do you pronounce this word? What does it mean again?

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.

pracks-e-o-logical (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by wiredog on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:04:17 PM EST

Beats me what it means.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Praxeowhat? (3.00 / 2) (#3)
by rusty on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:11:23 PM EST

Praxeological.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
It doesn't even pass the Google Test[tm]! (3.50 / 2) (#4)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:13:24 PM EST

(The Google Test[tm] is something a friend and I made up: namely, if a particular word gets more than a thousand hits on Google, it's considered a "real word".)

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Nice test... (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by twodot72 on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:01:11 PM EST

But it does pass, right? When I click your Google link I get "Results 1 - 10 of about 1,030".

Incidentally, all the most common misspellings also passes the google test. It would be more useful if people could learn how to spell :-)

[ Parent ]

Not on mine! (4.00 / 3) (#17)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:59:20 PM EST

When I click on it I get 973. Hmmm... are you using the same Google I'm using?

By the way, which misspellings pass the Google test? The only really good one I found was "millenium" (which is used authentically by some corporations and groups). Most other common mistakes (lose, its, their, your, etc.) are other valid words when mispelled.

Regardless, Google itself generally tends to catch any spelling deviations. This test is meant to determine if a word like "praxeological" and "sillification" are in common use, and the test works just as well for "xyzzy", "foobar", and a few mispellings as well. Just means they're so common that they're likely to be well understood, e.g. a "real word", no matter whether it's spelled correctly or even dictionarifiable!

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Dictionarifiable (3.50 / 2) (#21)
by twodot72 on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:11:11 PM EST

By the way, which misspellings pass the Google test?
Actually, I googled up a page listing common misspellings and tried a few, already forgot which ones (millenium was one though, at least one other seemed to be a valid word in spanish).

no matter whether it's spelled correctly or even dictionarifiable!
Sorry, that last word failed the Google test, therefore I have no idea what you mean. I am now a huge fan of this test. You have convinced me :-)

[ Parent ]
how bizarre (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by core10k on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:27:44 PM EST

Results 1 - 10 of about 914... is google going wonky on us? Three different results for three different people?

[ Parent ]
I'm scared. (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by Dlugar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:39:57 PM EST

I tried it again just now and got 982. This is getting frighteninger and frighteninger.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
huh (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by core10k on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:24:18 PM EST

Now I get:

Searched the web for praxeological. Results 1 - 10 of about 973

I don't have Clue #1 what's going on, so I'll blame Linux. Stupid Linux servers! :-)



[ Parent ]
Hrm (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by delmoi on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:21:45 AM EST

Well, I got 973...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
hrm (2.50 / 2) (#46)
by delmoi on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:20:36 AM EST

Which means 'and' 'com' and 'it' arn't words?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Try +and (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by BlckKnght on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:57:52 AM EST

Common words are excluded by default, but can be included by putting a plus in front of them.

See the results for "and", "com" and "it".

-- 
Error: .signature: No such file or directory


[ Parent ]
Hrm (none / 0) (#80)
by delmoi on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 05:33:54 PM EST

adobe acrobat seems to be the most linked to thing out there... but 'the' still won't work
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Means 'of the study of humanity by its actions' (3.40 / 5) (#5)
by miller on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:19:42 PM EST

...presumably as opposed to the study of humanity by its supposed motives. Presumably because the person doing the study is some sort of alien or something, shrug.

--
It's too bad I don't take drugs, I think it would be even better. -- Lagged2Death
[ Parent ]
Canonical answer (4.00 / 3) (#6)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 01:19:56 PM EST

Here is Hans-Herman Hoppe to explain praxeology to the curious. Excellent article found here.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
audio (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by truth versus death on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:17:36 PM EST

pronunciation: praxeological

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Briefly (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:39:04 PM EST

Its the belief that economics should be studied as matter of analytical deduction from axioms, rather than an empirical science. Von Mises coined the term, and it is the method used by the the Austrian school of economics (excluding Hayek), of which Ubu is a fan. However, you didn't need to know that, as the essay above doesn't contain any economics, praxeological or otherwise.

As you can imagine, this is not uncontroversial, and could be seen by the cynical as an excuse to make stuff up and pass it off as authorative without putting any effort into justifying it.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Court jester (2.00 / 2) (#27)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:06:16 PM EST

Wrong as usual, Kinahan. Praxeology is not "the belief" of anything. Praxeology is the study of human behavior with the purpose of discovering axiomatic truths. It is not a school of economics; the chief conclusion of praxeology thus far has been that economics is the science of human behavior. Moreover, to conclude that praxeology is opposed to "empirical science" -- whatever that means coming from Simon Kinahan -- is nonsensical.

In light of your confusion, the fact that you missed the "praxeological tradition" in the address is hardly surprising, to say the least. Pfffft.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
Praxeology (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:04:24 PM EST

Praxeology is not "the belief" of anything.

Yeah. I spotted that too late to change it. I'm not sure your redefinition is any better though. Obviously "praxeology" cannot be a belief, however its not entirely clear, even from the writings of the von Mises institute, whether praxeology is meant to be a branch of knowledge that includes economics, or a methodology within economics, or both.

Praxeology is the study of human behavior with the purpose of discovering axiomatic truths

Really ? Surely studing human behaviour to discover truths is what experimental psychologists do ? Sounds dangerously empirical to me.

It is not a school of economics

Nor did I assert that it was.

Moreover, to conclude that praxeology is opposed to "empirical science" [...] is nonsensical.

I said it was opposed to the study of economics as an empirical science. From the essay you yourself recommended: "Praxeology says that all economic propositions which claim to be true must be shown to be deducible by means of formal logic from the incontestably true material knowledge regarding the meaning of action." Ergo, praxeology rules out the study of economics as an empirical science. Incidentally, the same quote implies, praxeology is a methodology, not a field of study.

Oh, and if my egregious ignorance prevents me from spotting the "praxeological tradition" in that ramble you linked, would you care to explain ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

reply (2.00 / 2) (#36)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 09:14:22 PM EST

Obviously "praxeology" cannot be a belief, however its not entirely clear, even from the writings of the von Mises institute, whether praxeology is meant to be a branch of knowledge that includes economics, or a methodology within economics, or both.

It's not really either one. It might be easiest to call it a "perspective" from which human action -- Human Action being the Von Mises volume which formally introduced it -- is viewed and understood. I would presume to say that Von Mises "proved" his argument, in the sense that he logically demonstrated all of what he claimed to be true.

You might also say that "praxeology" implies a lot of doctrine, specifically the doctrines espoused by Von Mises, Say, Menger, Hoppe, et al. What is crucial, in my opinion, is to note that all of this "doctrine" is based on sound, logical demonstration of theoretical axiomatic principles, rather than on any specific epistemology.

Really ? Surely studing human behaviour to discover truths is what experimental psychologists do ? Sounds dangerously empirical to me.

Again, "empirical" is ambiguous. I agree that there is a sense in which experimental science is "empirical", and that this sense most certainly does not apply to praxeology.

Incidentally, the same quote implies, praxeology is a methodology, not a field of study.

I agree, to a certain extent, but only in the praxeology comprises a methodology and the tradition embodied in the work of Von Mises et al.

Oh, and if my egregious ignorance prevents me from spotting the "praxeological tradition" in that ramble you linked, would you care to explain?

The praxeological tradition is what cleaves Lew Rockwell's conclusions about September 11th from the statism of other commentators (like Fukuyama). Rockwell is not simply "spouting" rhetorical bullshit; his article is replete with references to conclusions drawn by other praxeologists like Jeffrey Tucker (Airplanes and Property Protection) and William Anderson (Why the Show of Force Won't Work and Is Terrorism Good for the Economy?). Both, in turn, make reference to the studies and conclusions of Hazlitt, Say, and Bohm-Bawerk, among others.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
Also a reply (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:23:35 PM EST

What is crucial, in my opinion, is to note that all of this "doctrine" is based on sound, logical demonstration of theoretical axiomatic principles, rather than on any specific epistemology.

Thats an interesting way of putting it. I'd say that to believe you can deduce anything of direct practical significance that way is a very specific epistemology - a Kantian one, to be exact, with your axiomatic principles being synthetic a priori knowledge, within that framework. Kant's classic example of synethic a priori knowledge was mathematics, I think.

The problem I have with this is that there is no procedure I'm aware of for discovering synthetic a priori truths that doesn't seem to amount to "making stuff up".

The praxeological tradition is what cleaves Lew Rockwell's conclusions about September 11th from the statism of other commentators (like Fukuyama).

Well, I don't care much for Fukuyama myself in general (anyone who seriously believe's we're at the end of history lacks imagination) but I didn't find the conclusions in Rockwell's essay very different from others that have been drawn, both by some on the radical left and in the saner parts of the political center ground. Admittedly the supporting reasoning is quite different.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

YAR (1.00 / 1) (#65)
by ubu on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:06:13 PM EST

The problem I have with this is that there is no procedure I'm aware of for discovering synthetic a priori truths that doesn't seem to amount to "making stuff up".

I don't understand your reasoning in the least. The whole point of praxeology is to avoid "making stuff up" by using history as a guide for the future.

If you want, you can argue with Von Mises' interpretation of history. Reading Human Action is a prerequisite. Most of the critiques I've seen of libertarianism (or anarcho-capitalism) amount to a creative avoidance of historical episodes in order to make generalizations about history. A great deal of the academic Left spends its time reshuffling the facts about the failure of Communism in the Soviet Union. By comparison, Von Mises died before the collapse of the USSR, leaving behind his 1921 prediction that socialism (and communism) were economically impossible by the reasoning of the economic calculation of his praxeology.

Argue with that, if you like.

Well, I don't care much for Fukuyama myself in general (anyone who seriously believe's we're at the end of history lacks imagination) but I didn't find the conclusions in Rockwell's essay very different from others that have been drawn, both by some on the radical left and in the saner parts of the political center ground. Admittedly the supporting reasoning is quite different.

It's easy to distance yourself from Fukuyama. It's much harder to categorically say that you don't implictly accept his Hegelian argument, whatever you think of the man. Out of curiosity, what was your answer to the poll?

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
Also a Reply (none / 0) (#67)
by Simon Kinahan on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 05:06:40 PM EST

I don't understand your reasoning in the least. The whole point of praxeology is to avoid "making stuff up" by using history as a guide for the future.

Well, if we just think about praxeology, my question is, where do the axioms from which we are to reason come from ? and how are they known to be true ?

In the natural sciences, the axioms of the formal systems employed to make predictions are checked (somehow - exactly how is a matter of controversy) against experimental results. This is a basically a pretty good procedure for ensuring correspondence to the "real world". "Mainstream" economsists claim to do the same - though I imagine you'd agree with me that this is not really true.

In mathematics - which Kant thought was synthetic a priori, as praxeology seems to be - axioms are chosen partly for practicality (how useful the resulting formal system will be), and partly out of aesthetics. Although correct mathematical proofs are incontrovertible in themselves, the correspondence of mathematical truths to the results from from the natural sciences is subject to just the same rules about experimental evidence as a non-mathematical proposition in the same sciences.

My concern with praxeology is where it fits in. Are its axioms subject to experimental refutation ? apparently not. Are they then, like mathematical axions, chosen for convenience and aesthetics ? well, no, apparently the conclusions they lead to should guide us in deciding how to organise society. So, how are the demonstrated to be true ?

If you want, you can argue with Von Mises' interpretation of history. Reading Human Action is a prerequisite.

I intend to do so, when I find a copy I can afford to buy.

By comparison, Von Mises died before the collapse of the USSR, leaving behind his 1921 prediction that socialism (and communism) were economically impossible ...

Yes indeed. This at least we agree about, and, of course, it represents a considerable acheivement for Austrian economics. Am I correct in saying that Hayek presented essentially the same argument, although he never accepted praxeology ?

It's easy to distance yourself from Fukuyama. It's much harder to categorically say that you don't implictly accept his Hegelian argument, whatever you think of the man. Out of curiosity, what was your answer to the poll?

Necessary evil. I may or may not agree with Fukuyama's argument. I haven't read whatever he said that Rockwell was criticising. I certainly disagree strongly the argument as Rockwell characterises it. I'm generally quite keen on "preoccupation with one's own petty affairs," it generally being much less harmful than preoccupation with other people's which seems to be the main alternative. As to Hegel ... yuck.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

This is a very persuasive article (4.00 / 10) (#10)
by spacejack on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:28:21 PM EST

You know what drives me nuts about Libertarianism? You look at it one way, you see a beautiful woman, you look at it another way, it looks like an ugly old hag.

In any case, actual political Libertarian support is so low (how does an anti-government government get elected? Wouldn't you rather be doing something financially productive instead?) we may never find out what sort of society would come out of it. I wouldn't mind seeing what would happen though. Maybe some really rich Libertarian could buy a country -- something small and cheap, like maybe Iceland or New Zealand -- and install a Libertarian government. Then we could all just sit back and see what happens.

Even better (3.50 / 4) (#12)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:09:32 PM EST

No, it would be better to do it on a planet several light years from Earth. That way they couldn't claim that they were forced into bad policies by other nations (similarly to how they try to claim that loan contracts that governments are "forced" to agree to explain why the IMF's "laissez faire" policies send nations' economies into freefall. Funny how they never consider contracts "forceful" in any other circumstances...)

Also they'd be able to destroy their environment without hurting anyone else.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Nice (2.40 / 5) (#20)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 04:52:18 PM EST

IMF's "laissez faire" policies

On which note, your commentary can be safely dismissed as pure ignorance.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
Some clarity (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:28:40 PM EST

I hope you're not persuaded by the site you linked. It hopelessly confuses the State with individual action. Let me demonstrate:

"interarchy": are libertarians minarchists? Some libertarians describe themselves as anarcho-capitalists, or just anarchists, or minarchists. Anarchy means literally "no rule" and minarchy implies minimal rule, minimal government. Robinson Crusoe, alone on an island, could claim to have a truly minarchic and anarchist system, of absolute autonomous self-government. However, isolation is not what libertarians mean, when they use these terms. The political structures proposed by libertarians allow any person to interact with another, in any non-coercive way. Libertarianism, and liberalism in general, recognise no "right to be a hermit". But most libertarians not only allow interactive society, they positively value it. They claim it allows knowledge to be shared: they value this input of others. Not just in their own life, but as a general social precept. This high-interaction society, of collective decision making, already has a name: Hayek suggested "catallaxy". However, the term "interarchy" seems better. It indicates that no-one in such a society is "self-governing" in the Crusoe sense. Others affect their lives: in a global economy, about four billion other consumers and millions of business firms. If minarchy means minimal outside influence, on the life of the individual, then libertarians are not minarchists. By the same token, they can certainly not be anarchists.

"Interarchy" makes no sense in the context Hayek proposed "catallaxy". There is no -archy without a State. When individuals voluntarily make decisions, voluntarily accept the consequences of those decisions, and voluntarily act to uphold the substance of those decisions -- all of their own volition -- there is no "collectivism" because there is no "collective". The consensus built out of intersection of volition is by definition voluntary -- it is not coerced.

This contrasts starkly with the coercive nature of State-sponsored "collectivism" in the tradition of every State-worshipping philosophy, from Marxism to Democracy to Fascism. In such systems coercion is a moral tool with a noble purpose: the unity of social progress without the irritating distractions of dissenters and non-conformists.

syncretism The syncretism of libertarianism is also best visible among cyber-libertarians. For many people the mere fact of connection is not enough, they value the fusion it produces. Especially, they value the fusion of cultures, and religions. Religious and ethical syncretism are very old beliefs, although they never produced a global religion. (Syncretists tend to form minorities within existing religions). The Internet led to a cultural revival of syncretism, which had been confined to a New Age minority. In one particular form, it overlaps with libertarianism: the pan-syncretism of organic social theories. In other words, the ideal of human society as a global organism, fused from existing societies. This old and generally obscure ideal was dramatically revitalised, by claims that the Internet could make a 'global brain' technically possible. It apparently has a deep emotional appeal for some libertarians: they see in the interactive nature of the free market a forerunner of a planetary organism. The theorist David Friedman, a hard economic libertarian, links from his homepage to the SF novel Earthweb, which in turn credits him as an inspiration. The papers by Alexander Chislenko, linked below, are good examples of how free-market individualism can switch to extreme organic collectivism.

This paragraph makes the same mistake. What brand of "intellectual" can claim that "community" is equivalent to "communism"? If the influence of others on my work is equivalent to being ruled by those people then we all might as well shackle ourselves to the dungeon wall -- State-worshippers will not complain, I assure you.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
I'm not (4.66 / 3) (#29)
by spacejack on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:46:21 PM EST

really persuaded by either. I was merely pointing out that there is a lot of persuasive writing out there. Libertarian writing tends to be self-proving and avoids a lot of inconsistencies because it's so simple. The most damning phrase in that article, for me, is that "libertarianism is a legitimation of the existing order, at least in the United States" -- which is kind of true. The Libertarian party hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected anytime soon, so the only real effect libertarian sympathies can have is to cut taxes -- anywhere and everywhere, arbitrarily, because "Taxes Are Bad". A sweet-looking carrot on a stick intended to lure people away from their support of social programs.

So that's one way of seeing it. The other thing I must wonder is, if it is such a natural state for humans to exist in, then why hasn't it simply emerged on its own? There is Libertarian writing and philosophy that predates Marx if I am not mistaken, and yet Communism took off a lot faster.

[ Parent ]
reply (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:23:39 PM EST

The Libertarian party hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected anytime soon, so the only real effect libertarian sympathies can have is to cut taxes -- anywhere and everywhere, arbitrarily, because "Taxes Are Bad". A sweet-looking carrot on a stick intended to lure people away from their support of social programs.

I suppose that's one way to look at it. I admit it seems like an excuse not to engage the discussion, mostly since the friends and family who oppose Libertarianism generally give this excuse... something along the lines of a "wasted vote".

The Free State Project was organized to combat this sense of futility. It's an interesting idea. Still, the excuse that Libertarianism doesn't seem "feasible" to achieve in the current system also doesn't excuse the statist thinking that makes Libertarianism seem far-away in the first place.

It's something along the lines of a discussion I read recently, where a behavioral theorist was pointing out how people generally listen to music they think they're "supposed to like". He pointed out that people ought to listen to what they actually like, regardless of whether or not it fit their preconceived image. If Austrian economics and praxeology are an appropriate conception of human behavior then one ought to begin thinking along those lines.

The other thing I must wonder is, if it is such a natural state for humans to exist in, then why hasn't it simply emerged on its own? There is Libertarian writing and philosophy that predates Marx if I am not mistaken, and yet Communism took off a lot faster.

I believe that peace is a natural state for human existence, but that doesn't mean I deny the warmongering politics that frequently drag States into bloody conflict. Liberty is natural but it is by no means simple or automatic. To say that a thing is "natural" does not necessarily say that it comes without a price.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
just to add (4.50 / 2) (#60)
by spacejack on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 01:25:28 PM EST

I suppose that's one way to look at it. I admit it seems like an excuse not to engage the discussion, mostly since the friends and family who oppose Libertarianism generally give this excuse... something along the lines of a "wasted vote".

I wasn't really saying "don't vote because they're unlikely to win". I think you should vote for who you want to win. The section that I pulled the quote from implies more than simple fatalism. Consider:

Specifically libertarianism is a legitimation for the rich - the second defining characteristic. [...] Libertarianism is not necessarily invented or financed, by those who benefit from the ideology.

You see, this puts the shoe on the other foot so to speak. If one adopts libertarianism, if you look at the world through libertarian lenses, it teaches you to view virtually all state-sponsored programs as conspiracies against hard-working people.

What the author of the paper is suggesting is a similar kind of conspiracy with libertarianism -- not that the party is unlikely to win, but that because of its very nature, it cannot win; that it is merely a propaganda tool used by those in power to justify their position, and that they get earnest Libertarian supporters to sabotage their own political will. To use his example, Bill Gates doesn't have to be a libertarian (in fact, he's probably better off lobbying Republicans/Democrats), but it helps his cause if you adopt libertarianism because your political thrust benefits him by cutting his taxes, lowering minimum wage, outlawing unions, etc. i.e., he doesn't expect libertarians to win because, as I originally asked, what libertarian would run for office? -- they'd rather be a good libertarian, building their fortune or whatever.

It's something along the lines of a discussion I read recently, where a behavioral theorist was pointing out how people generally listen to music they think they're "supposed to like".

Yeah... what is it that drives ordinary people to pick up the causes of the rich anyways? ;)

[ Parent ]
wrong word (none / 0) (#62)
by spacejack on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:00:12 PM EST

s/fatalism/defeatism/

[ Parent ]
Outlawing unions??? (none / 0) (#66)
by Fenian on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:20:01 PM EST

Maybe I'm being ignorant here, but my impression of Libertarianism indicates that most Libertarians would be extremely opposed to outlawing unions. We may not like them much (they seem to do at least as much harm as good, even to the members they supposedly represent), but what right does the government have to tell workers that they can't bargain collectively? Of course, that doesn't address the issue of a company firing all employees who are members of a union, but that's another issue.

[ Parent ]
I know why... (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by Sheepdot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 10:45:45 PM EST

Thank you for offering a civil discussion on libertarianism and not discounting it as some "fringe" outlook.

So that's one way of seeing it. The other thing I must wonder is, if it is such a natural state for humans to exist in, then why hasn't it simply emerged on its own? There is Libertarian writing and philosophy that predates Marx if I am not mistaken, and yet Communism took off a lot faster.

Quite simply, I think governments exist in cycles. At least with the Romans, you saw greater expansion into citizen's liberty, property, and life as time grew on.

Then you see Dark Ages. Happened with the Mycaneans(spelling) as well in Greece. Slowly societies and their laws merge or overcome each other, and you end up with a government that expands to the point in which it loses stability and collapses, or gets overtaken by another. In Greece's case, the Macedonians. MASSIVE expansion in just twelve years under Alexander. Then you see a new thing, fractioning, then collapse as Roman Republic takes over.

But something happened with Rome that was different. It was a rejuvenation that turned into the Roman Empire. It maintained cohesiveness to a certain extent, but eventually liberties were assaulted, and eventually fracturing and collapse. The Huns scaring the Vandals and Visigoths into Rome didn't help either.

Now we have expansion yet again and to be quite honest, even our metaphysical expansions are waning. Eventually I expect to see fracturing and once again collapse.

But the start of the restructuring is *always* founded upon libertarian ideals. You don't see tribal societies immediately starting communism. It may look like it, but communism requires centralization, something that is impossible to do if the central organization has nothing to offer. Eventually frustration with others in the anarchy gives light to new order with a community (and numbers) that can stop such anarchy. But property rights are not immediately removed. Nor is free thought. Indeed that is the emergence. But that emergence happened in the late 1700's through the 1800's and was effectively ended with FDR.

Anyway, I haven't really structured any of this in even a half-ass arguable form and I'm sorry, but I'll just give you an idea of what I think the stages of any government are:
Association
Protection
Interpolation
Expansion
Recision
Fracturization
Decimation

The US, and indeed much of the world is in "Recision" right now. This also involves polarization to an extent, and of course that happens during the course of any of these areas, so technically we could fall under Expansion. But once polarization starts leading to eventual geographic polarization, which it may indeed do in the near future, Recision is nearing completion, and Fracturization is next.

It's hard to tell if the US will be able to jump from Recision back to Interpolation (like Rome did) or not.

Also, what confounds me is how to measure polarization in an information age. Before, people would actually move to a location where like minds existed. But in the Information Age, we can retreat to our homes and polarize there.

So if this does happen, what we will actually see, is large numbers of people that simple won't interact at work, school, etc. They won't give a crap about the people located physically near them, and instead associate with those they are polarized with online.

This has some odd effects. It could mean distrust in those we *do* have a reality with. I'm not saying everyone will go anti-social, but it is possible that enough people won't put value in physical relationships with neighbors and community and will become victims to those that do.

An example would be lower class citizens maintaining ties to each other and being able to easily overpower middle and upper class citizens because of the lack of response between each other

But it could all be disproven easily since even lower classes (at least in the US) have access to computers. (libraries, universities, etc.)


[ Parent ]

Communism? (none / 0) (#58)
by Ludwig on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:03:08 AM EST

[T]he start of the restructuring is *always* founded upon libertarian ideals. You don't see tribal societies immediately starting communism. It may look like it...

Actually, it looks like communalism, but even that's a gross generalization. Historically, tribal cultures have been so widely varied in their social organization that it's impossible to make a valid blanket assertion like that without resorting to tautology.

[ Parent ]

Comunalism != Communism (As you certainly know) (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by Sheepdot on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 06:48:08 PM EST

My full statement was this:

You don't see tribal societies immediately starting communism. It may look like it, but communism requires centralization, something that is impossible to do if the central organization has nothing to offer.

Quite simply, if a society starts with centralization of nearly every mode of thought, they *will* get nowhere. The look is always inward and never outward, thus preventing them from justifying an expansion phase (to expand their ideas and thus their support) in anything but conquest. Basically the inward look prevents the society from convincing neighboring communities to see things in a same light.

Take Sparta for example. It was basically the first 4 polis that made up Sparta, and what little "expansion" that occurred was either: 1) for conquest of neighboring farmlands 2) Alliances with other polis to ward of Persia and later on, Athens.

Such an inward-bound community will get nowhere, indeed it is almost a stipulation of said community that expansion and conquest be forbidden since they will inevitably bring in "new" ideas and beliefs that could marr the institution.

And outsiders have no desire to adopt such an inward look, but may make an alliance to defeat a common enemy. Still, the ideas are "forced" inward, and aren't allowed out. Inevitably, though many will disagree, centralization aims to discourage "outside" influences.

To actually *start* with such an inward look on society is possible, but makes interpolation impossible, which is why said societies shoot themselves in the foot upon doing so.


[ Parent ]

Say what you mean. (none / 0) (#72)
by Ludwig on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 04:02:38 AM EST

You didn't say "primitive societies that start with centralized, isolationist foreign policies don't tend to produce an enduring legacy," you said (in essence) that primitive societies are never based on anything but individual property rights.

I don't take any great umbrage at any of the rest of anything you said, but that particular assertion was, I think, hasty and poorly considered.

[ Parent ]

Think about it (none / 0) (#81)
by Sheepdot on Sun Oct 07, 2001 at 01:16:56 AM EST

It's 6000 B.C.E.

You've successfully fed yourself with:
1) Two sticks needed to start a fire.
2) A pointy stick used to spear fish and rabbits.
3) A basket for holding berries and other items.
4) Various small stick used for farming what little land you can.

At some point you run into another human.

Do you:

1) Give them your tools listed above?
2) Kill them and take their tools?
3) Agree that to each his own and barter to trade tools, food, and other items?
4) Disagree that you each own the items and collectively own them?

Which of the above four questions looks totally out of place?

After answering that question you can refute my assertion.

What my point was in explaining the previous is that even *after* primitive societies, centralism effectively cuts growth and kills a legacy early.

I didn't know that you really believed centralization could come out of a primitive society, so it appears we need to cover that first.

I'll be interested in what you have to say.


[ Parent ]
which looks out of place (none / 0) (#83)
by streetlawyer on Fri Nov 02, 2001 at 05:47:31 AM EST

The one where you're a human in 6000 BCE living on your own in isolation from a community.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
New Zealand? (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by Tatarigami on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:07:11 PM EST

I can't think of a state more hostile to libertarianism than New Zealand. We've been slightly socialist ever since the 1950s, and there are still people alive today who remember the effort it took to get that way, up to and including widespread rioting which was only quelled by intervention from the country's armed forces.

The riots were in response to blatant interference with election proceedings by the party in power at the time (including declaring martial law in order to postpone elections), after they realised with horror that the disgruntled working class were getting organised and political.

Vox populi vox dei, matey.

[ Parent ]
ok (3.00 / 1) (#30)
by spacejack on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 06:50:42 PM EST

I was just kidding. Maybe you guys would get too fiesty and civil war would break out instead :)

[ Parent ]
Hong Kong and more... (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by Sheepdot on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:19:56 PM EST

From your link:
For instance, some libertarians argue by quoting the US Constitution, without apparently realising, that it is not in force outside the USA.

I practically stopped there. It would be one thing to say that US libertarians apply that outlook to the rest of the world, but quite simply, the only times I refer to the US Constitution are when I am arguing a USian-specific point.

Also, many libertarians (classical liberals) exist outside of the US, and unless there is some wide epidemic I am unaware of, they aren't using the US Constitution to argue their points on a world perspective anymore than socialists use certain European and Asian laws to argue theirs.

In fact, of the few references in world debate I know of to the US Constitution, it is referred to in much the same respect as Karl Marx's works are, mainly as a reference to a "see how profound a statement he/they are making here?"

Maybe he was attacking Internet libertarians, I don't know.

Also, on his remarks, I often wonder if he even has any idea of liberalism and/or libertarianism. I honestly have totally and completely rejected utilitarianism and haven't gotten any slack for it from the LP party in my state. I actually don't believe in the conception of such a thing as "social utility" therefore it is impossible to "maximize happiness".

Basically, I think it is immoral for any person or institution to say that social utility is maximized or minimized through the course of action. It implies a "right" and "wrong" based entirely on a perception by one individual or institution. This borders Nihilism(spelling), of course, but basically I think the only just principle is the non-agression principle and that the only legitimate function of government is to enforce it.

So really, libertarianism isn't an anti-government government. And it really isn't about winning an election. It's about the numbers. We are sculpting future Republicrat policies by simply representing our views and offering ourselves a choice.

Gore lost the election because of Nader (well I don't entirely agree with that, but if Nader didn't run, Gore would have won), and quite simply, it could have been Bush losing because of Buchannan or Browne. The Republican party is making some big steps to try and draw Libertarians (without the media fanfare of course) but in all reality they aren't going to and I think they know it. Still it is neat to read the LP Newsletters/Magazines I get and see exactly how much impact we really *are* having on both parties.

we may never find out what sort of society would come out of it. I wouldn't mind seeing what would happen though. Maybe some really rich Libertarian could buy a country -- something small and cheap, like maybe Iceland or New Zealand -- and install a Libertarian government. Then we could all just sit back and see what happens.

How about Hong Kong? Before China got it back of course. British leaders just sat back and drank tea. They didn't really even legislate, just enforced and did judicial stuff. Turned out to be quite a nice place. In fact, I've considered moving there to start a business many a time. I hear it is still doing quite well, but of course China now "owns" it. Hong Kong was a real shithole just a few decades back too. Their regulations are slim and you can start a business without hardly any work.

Here in the US you have zoning laws and god knows (actually I know, I tried it myself, $40 up front, another $100 if the board had to meet a second time and you didn't know till after you paid the $40) what other stuff in your way. It horrendous to be quite honest.

I talk too much. I'll just shut up now.


[ Parent ]

buy new zealand? (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by kiwipeso on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:01:00 AM EST

New Zealand is not for sale, no matter how good the intentions are of the buyer.

Kaos operating system creator.
[ Parent ]
really? (none / 0) (#82)
by streetlawyer on Fri Nov 02, 2001 at 05:46:13 AM EST

You ought to convey that message to your government, who seem to have been of the opposite opinion for the last twenty years.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Warning: Libertarian Reality Distortion Field (3.33 / 12) (#11)
by JetJaguar on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 02:42:05 PM EST

This isn't a defense of intellectuals or a "praxeological" masterpiece. It's a piece of libertarian political rhetoric, period. This thing is so chock full of half-truths and double-speak, I would've expected it to come from a republicrat spin doctor.

The thing that is especially disgusting is at least the republicrats have been keeping the spin doctoring factor much lower than usual, but the libertarians appear to have kicked the spin rate into high gear. Just shows that the libertarians aren't above using a tragedy to push their own political agenda. I could spend an afternoon picking apart the distortions, half-truths, and opportunistic interpretations in that p-o-s, but (thankfully) I have better things to do.

Ah, yes (2.00 / 1) (#64)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 03:32:40 PM EST

"This sucks, but I cannot be bothered to demonstrate that it does." A compelling argument against most any position, isn't it?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
True, except that... (4.00 / 1) (#68)
by JetJaguar on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 06:02:39 PM EST

Yeah, technically I was being sloppy, so sue me. I wasn't expecting to get a ticket from the logical argument police. It's not as though you can't read the article and figure out for yourself what's objectionable about it, or what others might take issue with, even if you disagree. You don't even have to read the whole thing, the most egregious bits are in the first third or so anyway.

[ Parent ]

Funny... (none / 0) (#70)
by trhurler on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 06:53:56 PM EST

I read the whole thing, and while I believe one could argue against some of what he said, most of it was, if not uncontroversial, also not beyond the realm of reasonable discourse. It seems as though you're confusing the sentence "I disagree with this author." with the sentence "This author's work is ridiculous."

He's dead on correct about a great many things, though, and I suspect your anger and derision are the instinct of a mob - shout down anyone who says something against which you have no compelling reasoned argument. For instance, how will you pretend the government has done anything effective thus far to deter or prevent terrorism? How will you answer the (true) claims that government programs have increased poverty, violence, drug use, and so on?

Just keep shouting, and maybe nobody will notice what the people you can't answer are saying.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
ROTFL! (4.66 / 3) (#71)
by JetJaguar on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 11:53:07 PM EST

I am imensely amused by the paranoia exhibited here, and elsewhere, regarding the existence of some hypothetical hive mentality! I understand the roots of where that comes from, but doesn't change the fact of how silly it is. Obviously you don't know me, so you don't know how ridiculous that accusation is, but I digress...

Ok, so let's go...

Remember, in spite of what others will say, this article is a piece of rhetoric. Political rhetoric is the art of disengenuous persuasion. And the best political rhetoric never includes a false claim (unless it was spoken by an opponent). The "art" is in cleverly selecting true facts (or at least data points that most people believe are true, those work just as well), while selectively omiting true facts (or in this case, acting completely oblivious to the total lack of facts one way or the other) that weaken your argument. When you're playing the rhetoric game, what you don't say is just as important (if not more important) than what you do say.

In that light, do I really *need* to argue the so-called facts, that you think I need to refute? Not really, I do have a big quibble with the claim that government programs have increased violence and drug use, but that's largely semantic issue (but works just fine in the context of a piece of rhetoric). The rest of your assertians are essentially true, and that's the rub. It's not the facts themselves, but the way they are used and the conclusions drawn from them (which are purposely based on an incomplete picture) that ticks me off. Are government programs *really* causing increased violence and drug use? No, they aren't. Government programs may be exacerbating a bad situation, but they aren't causing people to turn to violence or drugs. People turn to violence and drugs all by themselves, and often the reasons have absolutely nothing to do with any government program. By claiming that any government program has caused anyone to turn to violence or drugs, you completely forget that people (regardless of their race or socio-economic class) are still responsible for thier own actions. So claiming that government programs are solely responsible for such things is ridiculous. They may play a roll to be sure and they may very well be trying to solve the wrong problem in the wrong way. But regardless of that, the problem of violence and drug use goes a lot deeper than what any government program could possibly hope to address, which is both a short-coming of the people who believe such programs properly address the right problem, and our own failure to fully understand what makes people turn to drugs and violence in the first place.

Almost done... What really irritated me was the comments about the extended closing of the stock market and the grounding of air traffic and how awful it was for the government to interfere. Those statements were on even shakier ground, and founded on no substantive information, other than the simplest, "the government interfered, and that's evil." Now, do I really need to go on, or have I made my point? Am I just shouting about something I don't understand and reacting without any thought or reason, or do I in fact, really have an understanding of where Rockwell misses? This is a lame piece of political rhetoric that opportunistically uses tragic events (in which we still do not know many important details) to push it's own agenda. This is not the time for rhetoric and half-assed solutions, this is the time to gather as much information as possible and work towards a real honest to goodness solution (if one is possible). It may well be the case that the libertarians are right, but they're going to have do better than spout off about how evil the government was for closing the stock exchanges and grounding aircraft for a few days. For the record, I'm not a libertarian, but I do identify with them far more than I do with any other party. However, sloppy pieces of political rhetoric (that at first glance appear to very eloquent) doesn't do the libertarians (or whoever it is the Mises Institute unofficially aligns itself with) any favors. And that really pisses me off, because they could've done a much better job of it. They didn't need to pull stunts like this.

[ Parent ]

My ass (2.00 / 1) (#73)
by trhurler on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 01:27:00 PM EST

First of all, you obviously are confusing rhetoric with sophistry.

Second, if omission of facts constitutes dishonesty, then nothing honest has ever been written, by anyone, anywhere, about anything. People have to focus on something; that's life. Deciding whether you agree with the focus is another matter, but complaining that there is one is like complaining that water is wet.

Third, leave your middle class enclave sometime and look at the world around you. Government programs are universally failures(see The Unravelling of America for a reasonable discussion of many examples, which book was intended supposedly as a wakeup call for liberals, but in fact is more a judgement on liberalism itself,) and just as universally make worse or create the very problems they're supposed to solve. There wasn't a real drug problem in the US prior to the war on drugs, as one key example the book doesn't much touch on(it deals with older programs.)

Fourth, shutting down air traffic for more than a few hours served no security purpose; all it did was create economic loss of insane proportion. Similarly, shutting down the markets, which are equipped and prepared to go on in the face of facility problems such as they experienced on 9/11, created far more investor panic than the attacks themselves did. You can argue about what the intent was, but the effect was clear: people with money lost a lot of it.

By the way, there's a difference between saying you've got a mob mindset going and saying you're part of a mob. Think about that.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Sigh (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by JetJaguar on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 03:15:52 PM EST

Reread my reply. Relavent facts were omitted that are significant to the conclusions drawn by Rockwell. Having a focus is one thing, omitting facts and prematurely drawing conclusions in the face of knowing that additional information is forthcoming is not an activity that I would consider to be the height of intellectual honesty, whether you call it rhetoric or sophistry is immaterial. This is not the same thing as drawing conclusions by being ignorant of all the factors.

Government programs, shmovernment programs. If you really think there was no drug problem before the war on drugs was begun, I've got some swamp land in Florida I'm looking to sell. Claiming that all government programs are universal failures is libertarian propaganda, that's not to say that government programs are perfect examples of how to solve probems, but universal failures? Come off it.

As for shutting down airlines and financial institutions for more than a couple of hours. I think we'll simply have to agree to disagree. Should these industries have been shut down for as long as they were? Probably not, but no more than a couple of hours? You're on crack. It's quite likely that there were legitimate security reasons for keeping airlines grounded that don't necessarily have anything to do with whether or not it was safe to fly (like trying to catch additional suspects before they could literally fly away, and that's just one reason). And as a sys admin, I don't care how well designed the financial system is to handle this kind of loss, when you take a big hit like this, you take some time out and make damn sure that the system really can be brought back online without problems, if something went wrong, it's quite likely to make things even worse than merely closing the markets for a few days. I find it extremely hard to believe that the extended closing of the markets caused more panic than the attack itself, however, if the systems handling the trading were brought back online prematurely, you can be damn sure that any panic created by the attack would've turned to outright hysteria if something had gone wrong with the trading systems themselves, regardless of what they were designed to handle.

You should think about your final statement a bit more as well, note the difference between mob psychology and an individual reasoning on their own, there's quite a dichotomy between the two. Having a mob mindset tends to imply a lack of thought before coming to judgement along the lines of the people who made statements like Ann Coulter. If you think I've jumped to conclusions because I disagree with Rockwell, and apparently with you as well, then you're even more of an arrogant bastard than you think.

[ Parent ]

Sysadmin of what, your linux desktop?! (none / 0) (#75)
by trhurler on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 03:42:35 PM EST

Relavent facts were omitted that are significant to the conclusions drawn by Rockwell.
Relevance is a matter of judgement. What facts do you think he should have included?
If you really think there was no drug problem before the war on drugs was begun, I've got some swamp land in Florida I'm looking to sell.
There were drugs, but that's not the same as a drug problem.
Claiming that all government programs are universal failures is libertarian propaganda
I gave you a suggestion for a very well researched book you can read, complete with references and all. If you don't read it, you can hardly then turn around and say that my claim is baseless propaganda.
It's quite likely that there were legitimate security reasons for keeping airlines grounded that don't necessarily have anything to do with whether or not it was safe to fly (like trying to catch additional suspects before they could literally fly away, and that's just one reason).
Ok, so that explains international flights, except that anyone who wanted to leave the country could easily have done so earlier in the same day. Now, why domestic? (Hint: no reason at all.) Truth be known, the US has porous borders north and south, and coasts that are essentially unmonitored for practical purposes. It is not hard to leave the US if you're prepared, airlines or no.
And as a sys admin, I don't care how well designed the financial system is to handle this kind of loss, when you take a big hit like this, you take some time out and make damn sure that the system really can be brought back online without problems, if something went wrong, it's quite likely to make things even worse than merely closing the markets for a few days.
Must be a sysadmin for some podunk outfit. What I'm telling you is, the markets have specific emergency plans in place to deal with this sort of thing without closing. They are prepared, complete with offsite replication and everything. You don't take down a system with redundant failover and hotswappable everything just to replace a failed component; that's the whole point of having such a system. The companies I work with would kick your ass for leaving a vital system down for days at a time, and could care less about your reasons.

As for the panic reaction, do you think people were more scared of losing money because the trade center collapsed, or because the markets were closed down and there were rumors of impending martial law? I mean, really, think about this before you answer.
you're even more of an arrogant bastard than you think.
Not possible, I assure you.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Ok, you win... (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by JetJaguar on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 10:48:32 PM EST

I debated about whether or not I should even bother to respond. Some of your responses are valid, but predictable, and don't seem to display the insight I've noticed you are capable of, and the others? Well....

We're going to argue about who's facts and figures represent a valid analysis of the success or failure of government programs? Like we're going to be able to come to a consensus on that one! You're not going to believe my numbers any more than I'll believe yours. Damned statistics.

We're going to argue what constitutes a drug problem:

There were drugs, but that's not the same as a drug problem.

Which is like saying that people never caused serious accidents or even death while under the influence of alcohol before prohibition. Whatever.

Now, we come to the significance (or lack thereof) of relatively porous borders. A valid point, but I don't think it's as significant as you do. And the number suspects detained (at airports no less) in the aftermath seem to bear this out, but by no means clinches it.

And as for the massive redundancy of the stock exchange systems. I admire your faith, but I don't share it. There was at least one high profile case of a massively redundant system that crashed miserably (think of the power grid failure several years ago that took out electricity to most of California and several western states). When you take a hit like this, and have billions of dollars on the line, prudence suggests that you doublecheck just to make sure that those redundant systems are functional, and that nothing unanticipated has occured. It may cost you a considerable amount of money, but it will cost you even more if the system fails without properly testing it.

Well, I'm done, I quit, I'm gone, You win. This discussion is becoming increasingly pointless, and I've already spent too much time on k5 this week.

Cheers.

[ Parent ]

If You Had Said "Protological"... (3.20 / 10) (#14)
by SPrintF on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 03:32:02 PM EST

I would have agreed.

This is just another libertarian rant, full of strawmen and inflammatory rhetoric. Not really worth the read, I'm afraid.

To the casual reader (3.50 / 6) (#25)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 05:38:34 PM EST

I chose the article because I saw it was likely to challenge the majority of those who took the time to read it. As a reaction to September 11th, it neither resells that brand of imperialism we call Republican, nor that brand of social democracy we call Democratic.

Instead, it divides the two in such a way that the novice political reader can discard the out-of-hand State worship -- the bloodlust, the coercion, and the primeval linearity -- that continually assault Americans in the face of the tragedy.

It is natural and predictable to see the article shouted down. Non-conformity of purpose is anathema to the enslaved mind. Merely read the article, leave off the CNN hive-thinking, and allow the mild challenge of this dissenting opinion to be what it is.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
Good ! (3.75 / 4) (#41)
by Phage on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:15:23 PM EST

This is a much more thought out response.
What I don't understand is the personal abuse you stooped to with JetJaguar.

If he failed to understand...so be it. Try to enlighten him. Hurling insults merely makes you look as if you cannot take criticsm of your ideals.


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

reply (1.66 / 3) (#43)
by ubu on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 11:25:08 PM EST

Criticism is welcome. Flippant stupidity is not.

I have no problem "stooping" to personal abuse. It is the foundation of my approach to discussion. In my opinion, if you haven't gotten around to calling your opponent a filthy cunt, the argument hasn't gotten off the ground.

Incidentally, personal abuse has nothing to do with the verity of my arguments. I abuse you or anyone else because I like to, not because I'm afraid of criticism. If criticism frightened me, I probably wouldn't play on K5.

I should also note that I welcome personal abuse in both directions. If JetJaguar used "dipshit" and "dumbass" to color his argument, it would be a refreshing change from the dullness of normal K5 discourse.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
LOL !! (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by Phage on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:06:03 AM EST

Thanks for that, it actually made me laugh...

Gotta love the idea of personal abuse as an integral part of a reasoned argument !


I don't find Heathens to be sexy, as a general rule.
Canthros
[ Parent ]

Oh, of course. (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Ludwig on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 04:21:44 AM EST

Anyone who doesn't see much worth in the article is obviously brainwashed by the Mass Media Hive-Mind. Give us a break. How much blind devotion to Republican or Democratic party-line dogma do you see around here, anyway? "Tilting at windmills" mean anything to you? How about "trolling?"

[ Parent ]
Heh... (2.50 / 6) (#33)
by DarkZero on Tue Oct 02, 2001 at 07:04:51 PM EST

I haven't even read it yet, but the idiotic jumps to political labels that have appeared in the comments told me that this MUST be read. +1, indeed. ;)

Score -1 Moronic (NT) (none / 0) (#79)
by greenrd on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 11:59:39 AM EST


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]
Conflicted on this one.. (4.81 / 11) (#49)
by nevauene on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 12:43:57 AM EST

I voted -1 on this. Then I felt bad about doing so, thought maybe the address merited at least a +1 section from me.

But then after giving it a good thorough read, I realized I was right to vote to dump it. Far from being "a spectacular address", it's not much more than a particularly eloquent restating of the usual Libertarian dogma. Business good, business good, business good. Higher education under the control of the vast (and tenured) left-wing conspiracy. The governments and ruling classes of America are hostile towards capitalism and private property - such an absurd claim in this day and age that it beggars belief that Libertarians continue to spout it out, making themselves look like obsessives and fools.

Sorry libbies. I agree with you 100% about the importance of freedom and civil liberties, and I stand at your side whenever they are under assault by either the ultra-statist right or the politically-correct 'Third Way' left. But I'm a left libertarian, and I've grown tired of hearing you bay like sheep about how wonderful business and capitalism and 'free markets' are. Ever consider that the appalling self-censorship of the 'free press' might, just might, have something to do with the scale of the corporations controlling the pursestrings? Pull your heads out of your asses a moment and consider that your precious multinationals and vanguards of capitalism are the de facto ruling class, in close partnership with the state. Witness the laws they push through to stack the deck and exploit us all in the name of 'free markets' - a much different free market than I think you mean, and yet how easily you seem to stumble on the semantics and defend what you would hate if you had any consistency. Consider that maybe you should take on the task of reforming capitalism into something worth defending before you praise it to high heaven and look towards it for salvation. As it stands, capitalism is corrupted, it's collectivist to the core, and it's getting worse with each massive merger, every buyout of underdog competitors - and yet it would be inherently evil if the state were to interfere with or outright block such consolidations of wealth and power. Anybody else smelling a bit of a contradiction here? You want to see the equivalent of modern day Stalinism, you need not look to the relatively benign and powerless quarters of the academic left - just turn on the tv and flip through the channels, look at a behemoth like AOL-Time-Warner, take a closer look at how they subvert your hated government to serve their interests against the people, every step of the way. The suggestion that people like Noam Chomsky are the real threat to freedom, infecting and indoctrinating the minds of youth with "Marxist dogma", is the warped thinking of those who use the word "Truth" an awful lot, but don't really have the stomach to see Truth in it's awesome and frightening totality.

I am opposed to things like the FTAA, and globalization in general, not because I think they are inherently bad things, or because I'm a scared little isolationist - only because as things stand now, 'free trade' wouldn't be free trade at all - it'd be backroom deals between governments and entrenched corporate interests, and it would benefit the few at the expense of the many. No desire to improve the lot of backwards countries in any meaningful way, no debt relief or assistance in building infrastructures. No self-determination is on the agenda. Instead just the desire to treat them colonially, to exploit them with the empty promise that in a few centuries perhaps they might have what we have - in the meantime we'll suck em dry for all they're worth, thanks. Selfish greed, will to power. These are not virtues in any sane world I want to be a part of, and any world they are virtues in is destined to collapse under it's own contradictions.


There is no K5 Cabal.
I'm sold (2.50 / 4) (#53)
by ubu on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:18:52 AM EST

"Truth in its awesome and frightening totality" is one heck of a deal. Can I find this truth in the Utne Reader?

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
You've got it totally wrong! (4.50 / 4) (#55)
by JetJaguar on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:28:07 AM EST

entering sarcasm mode

Don't you know mises.org is an Austrian organization with no political ties? They have no political motivations whatsoever, they do not endorse, or run for office. They merely do praxeologic research, and any speech given by the esteemed president of the Mises Institute should be viewed as a purely academic pursuit of praxeology.

Absolutely no political motivations here at all, no siree, not here. Remember, we're Austrians, we don't have political motivations, we're just the champions of individuals in an unfettered marketplace of human interactions! And we're even against the establishment of anything remotely institional. Hell, we're against the establishment of our own damn institute! ;)

end sarcasm

[ Parent ]

More clever than you think (1.33 / 3) (#57)
by ubu on Wed Oct 03, 2001 at 02:39:08 AM EST

And we're even against the establishment of anything remotely institional. Hell, we're against the establishment of our own damn institute! ;)

Actually, it's not "institution" that Austrians oppose. Austrians opposed public institutions. Private institutions are laudable as the voluntary -- presumably productive -- work of self-organized individuals.

Ironically, your sarcasm is best directed at the Left-Libertarians who hold hierarchy to be the work of Satan. The Left-Libertarian is most diplomatically defined as nevauene describes him/herself: opposed to corporations which in turn abuse governmental power. They don't like to talk about their next targets, institutions like marriage, parenthood, and religion.

The funny thing about Left-Libertarians is that unlike Austrians, they don't actually oppose government, per se. They merely oppose the appearance of governance. When they've torn down all the private organizations, they'll be more than happy to indoctrinate your children's children with the Labor Theory of Value and set up their very own utopian socialist paradise...

Sssssssh! This is secret stuff, not to be found on the membership page of the Chomsky Reader.

Ubu


--
This signature is a magical vanity summoner. (streetlawyer,Inoshiro,spiralx,alprazolam,eLuddite)
[ Parent ]
weak. (4.00 / 2) (#76)
by nevauene on Thu Oct 04, 2001 at 05:44:20 PM EST

The Left-Libertarian is most diplomatically defined as nevauene describes him/herself: opposed to corporations which in turn abuse governmental power. They don't like to talk about their next targets, institutions like marriage, parenthood, and religion.
Whatever you say, ubu. Now you're starting to sound even less rational than you were when you started out; like many Right-Libertarians you quickly sink to being a reactionary Republican when challenged. Yes, we leftists are the Marxist tools of Satan, and we want to have our authoritarian state smash all such archaic institutions by force. The masses must be deindividualized and turned into atheist worker drones... etc etc. Ah, how I love that mildewy scent of libertarian 'Reason'. Besides this typical alarmist nonsense, and a couple childish attempts at jokes about Chomsky, the Utne Reader, etc, you have nothing to say. Pathetic.

For the record, I think marriage is a fine institution. Not for everybody, but I'm all for it. The suggestion that anyone is 'anti-parenthood' is idiotic, and I hardly think the modern left is interesting in abolishing religion either, or anything else people choose for themselves that doesn't harm others, for that matter. Perhaps next time you'll try painting with a brush that isn't 1000 feet across and makes you look like an ignorant asshole, in the meantime go fuck yourself.


There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
I am a parent, and religious too..! (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by snowlion on Fri Oct 05, 2001 at 09:00:34 AM EST

I have a daughter (whom I intend to home school), religious, and believe in marriage for those who want to marry.

I read Chomsky and have a copy of The Medium is the Message about one foot from my left hand right now.

I don't really have anything to say; I just want to let you know that I exist, and that I think your views are wrong, since you've demonized (falsely associated with terrible beliefs) several of my core perspectives based on blatently false and deeply rooted convictions.

I would recommend that you reflect on the accuracy of what you are saying, and why you are saying it.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
In Defense of Public Intellectuals | 83 comments (67 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
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