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Yet Another Effort, K5'ers

By localroger in Op-Ed
Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:38:09 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

While plenty of fine Libertarian sentiment abounds on K5, I just can't shake the feeling that we aren't doing enough to further the cause. If we are going to realize the dream of a free Nation where Libertarian ideals reign supreme, then we must be bold and honest in our assessment of those ideals. There can be no half-measure of Libertarianism; as long as the rule of Law supercedes that of Will, men are not free. Allow me to elaborate.

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Laws suck. Whenever a free and honest man wants to do something bold and worthwhile, too often there is some damn Law standing in his way. As Libertarians we find it easy to pick on the obviously stupid laws -- the miserably failed War on Drugs, the unceasing persecution of people who have the wrong kind of sex in the wrong kind of situation, the limitless and overwhelming burden of building codes, health codes, zoning, tax law, and occupational licensing which make it impossible to nail two boards together without paying some pinhead bureaucrat for permission.

But I am suggesting something bolder. Why should we put up with any Laws at all?

I can hear some detractors thinking, without the rule of Law to keep men in line, our society might surely fall apart. But tell me truthfully, dear reader, has any Law ever really detracted a man from following in the direction his natural energies lead? Has any Law ever stopped a man from getting in a fight in a bar, or beating his wife, or swiping the office stationary when the boss isn't looking? No, I say that if any man has ever resisted such an urge, it was not the Law but his natural strength of character; and if any man does not possess the strength of character to curb his own actions, then no Law is going to make him curb them.

Consider all those pickly little Laws regulating your sex life. Does it really do society any good to harrass people for doing something they are going to do no matter what? Does the illegalization of sex reduce the incidence of venereal disease or pregnancy? Or more likely, dear reader, doesn't it increase those incidences by driving the perpetrators underground, where they cannot afford to seek treatment and birth control? Doesn't the illegalization of prostitution make the Pimp's existence possible?

I can hear you saying "But what about kids?" Well, as in all of this as Libertarians we must hold with the principle that what our neighbor does may make us want to puke, but he has the right to do it as long as he doesn't leave it on our property. There's a first time for everyone, as the fine folks at NAMBLA like to point out, and besides; I am privileged to hail from Louisiana, where one of our state legislators pointed out last year that without incest, you can't breed fine racehorses. There are whole towns in this area steeped in a tradition of this bloodline-strengthening "vice."

It is a clear and obvious principle of natural law that the strong rule the weak; and nowhere is this clearer than in the relationships between the sexes and between parents and children. Families are falling apart because of puerile Laws that prevent men from exercising their natural dominance to keep their women and children in line. Children grow up not knowing how to act. Next time you're next to some screaming brat in a restaurant whose parents refuse to slap him sensible, see if you don't feel a perfectly natural urge to slap them.

I can hear you thinking, well, surely there are some Laws worth preserving. Take theft. Most people think it's a good idea to make it illegal to steal other peoples' property.

But not always! The ancients were more wise; they not only considered it permissible, but lauded it as a bold act demonstrating skill and courage. Even in the Odyssey Ulysses brags that, when blown unexpectedly near to the shoreline of Thrace, he seized the opportunity to do a little pillaging. It's the sort of opportunity from which no manly man who called himself a warrior could honorably turn away; and if you were dumb enough to build your village too close to shore, so much the worse for you. The Greeks didn't have the idea yet, but today we call it Darwinism At Work.

After all, if the Thraceans had been up to snuff they would have turned Ulysses back and taught him a lesson. America's founders realized this, which is why we have a Second Amendment.

And how sensible is it to punish the man who has demonstrated his courage and skill by the natural act of filching what he can get by putting him in prison, or killing him? Do we punish people who eat too much or belch in public because we don't like their behavior?

You will see that I was serious when I promised boldness of thought, but I'm not finished! Let's consider the granddaddy of Laws, the one for which we administer the harshest of penalties. Let's talk about murder.

We tend to recoil at the very thought of violating the sanctity of human life by the wanton taking of it, but let's think about this. I once read a treatment of risk analysis which pointed out that you may think your life is worth a million dollars, but it's only really worth a million dollars if you have a million dollars to pay for it. (The article then went on to explain why it's not always a bad thing to leave known defects in consumer products if correcting the defects will drive the price up too much, a sensibly modern attitude.)

So what is a life worth? One thing you cannot sensibly say is that society has a shortage of people. It takes no skill to make new people, and studies indicate that at least half of the new people we make are made by accident. It's true that society needs the labor of people but the situation is circular, since much of that labor is needed only because there are so many other people.

Nature herself restricts our lifespan, which either demonstrates the sensibility of death or makes God the worst murderer of all. When we destroy that which is ephemeral anyway, what really has been lost? I say that the value of a life, like the value of anything else, resides entirely in one's willingness to defend it.

In some societies, it is taken for granted that murder will be avenged by a family unit or group of associates. This is assured because the group is organized according to natural law, with a powerful leader and devoted, obedient followers who can be trusted to carry out the will of the group.

On the other hand, look at how the Law deals with murderers. What sense does it make to spend millions of dollars on a spectacle like the trial of Timothy McVeigh or to even fail, as in the case of a certain sports celebrity with the spectacularly murdered wife, all toward an end that could have been accomplished more reliably and effectively at the cost of a single .38-caliber bullet? Let those who seek vengeance take it in their own manner, I say.

It has been established that the death penalty is no deterrent. But had Timothy McVeigh been seized and dispatched by the families of his victims (I'd suggest giving them one stone apiece), I humbly suggest they would have felt more closure than they did after the bizarre ritual of his execution.

I can tell you that as an honest and upright Libertarian, if I ever kill someone there will be a very good chance that it was someone who needed killing. Our own government follows this principle and regularly has enemies and undesirables knocked off when appropriate, and it's a tradition that dates back to the dawn of civilization. What hypocrisy is it for that same government to deny its citizens the same right, and to pursue our vengeance for us in so expensive and ineffective a fashion?

The consideration of murder brings me back to one more of those victimless "crimes" committed in the privacy of one's own home, suicide. The insanity of making suicide illegal should be obvious even to children. The harrassment of the humanitarian Dr. Jack Kevorkian has given a serious lesson to anyone who faces a protracted or ruinous decline -- take care of the situation while you are still able to! If you choose to experience a few more weeks of existence you may find the final exit tragically out of grasp, again because of some stupid frivolous Law, and instead of a dignified and controlled escape from your situation you may find your last experience is to see the depletion of your estate, through a haze of unquenchable pain.

So I put it to you: No man can be free under the rule of Law. No man can be free if his natural Will is made subservient to a bunch of words written by people who don't even know him. Law should be implicit in our day-to-day actions; if you take a swing at me, natural law in all its fury begs me to hit back. But the Law says to call its officers in, who will take our accounts and weigh them and then at some indeterminant time in the future make a judgement which won't satisfy me as much as hitting back would have and which, frankly, will probably be all out of proportion to the harm you either could have or intended to cause.

So let us be honest with ourselves, fellow Libertarians, and tell the people what we really believe. When people know what we stand for, how can we possibly fail to make our case?


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Yet Another Effort, K5'ers | 65 comments (38 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
Yet Another Author's Meta Comment (4.66 / 12) (#1)
by localroger on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 09:38:42 PM EST

Fess-up time: This is not entirely an original work. (I can hear the folks who read my casino story thinking "no duh.") It is a quick retelling of an essay titled Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans, which was written in 1795. The original author was Donatian Alphonse-Francoise de Sade, better known to history as the Marquis de Sade.

While I have done a little rearranging and a hell of a lot of condensing (the Marquis was a most numbingly long-winded writer), most of the ideas are as intact from the original as could be expected in an update meant for a 21st-century audience. (For example, I skipped the long-winded refutation of religion since most of us have figured that out by now.)

And yes, the Marquis does refer to himself as a "libertarian" throughout the essay. It's one of the earliest references to "libertarianism" of which I'm aware.

Sade is a fascinating character, more a creature of our time than of his own. Much of the wind in Yet Another Effort was expended proclaiming things we find obvious (even if they're still illegal, as with senseless sexual laws). As Colin Wilson (no fan!) has pointed out, Sade's stories are "littered with the bodies of his libertines." He was no fool and knew exactly what he was advocating. He has the highest regard for the decadent and corrupt patron of wealth and for the common criminal, but he also sees their eventual downfall at the hands of their victims.

Sade, who in a very real way invented the whole idea of libertarianism, was far enough ahead of the curve to see something in 1795 that modern libertarians still haven't figured out: It won't all balance out in the end. It won't be a better society, only a different one with different rules and different winners and losers. I think a lot of libertarians are seduced because, in this system, they're obviously not among the winners; they didn't inherit, weren't in the right place at the right time, and generally feel lost. But in a libertarian society the only privilege is that which you seize for yourself, and while libertarians may realize they could fail in that system too they see it as a second chance.

I have always regarded Yet Another Effort as one of the finest pieces of satire ever written -- far superior to A Modest Proposal, since there are still a lot of people today who haven't figured out the joke. Sade knew people would recoil in horror at his vision and would never work to implement it, but at the same time there really are too damn many Laws. It's hard to read the essay and not feel a twinge of agreement with some point or other. And that makes you complicit in his world-view, forcing you to give some consideration to the rest of it. And oh what a view it is.

I can haz blog!

"libertarian"? (4.00 / 1) (#4)
by rusty on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:22:15 PM EST

I thought De Sade was generally considered a "libertine"? You sure the translator wasn't just pulling your leg?

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Translation, words, etc. (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by localroger on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:38:17 PM EST

I am using the 1964 translation by Richard Seaver and Austryn Wainhouse, ISBN 0-8021-3218-9, which includes Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom (of which the Effort essay is an excerpt), and other writings.

The word "Libertine" is reserved by Sade to refer to those persons who have abandoned all fealty to moral codes (which he sees as a virtue). In Effort he is trying to portray his philosophy in a more "neutral" light, addressing the likelihood that many individuals would adhere to a form of morality even without outside imposition -- and that it would be up to them to enforce this morality in a perfectly fair and honest system.

The language of the French revolution was rich with terms that had "liberte" as a base, and I think the choice of the translators was careful and deliberate.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 0) (#35)
by THoliC on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:02:23 AM EST

You said it yourself in another post.

But it really seems like the effectiveness of satire is compromised if you have to fricking explain it. Oh well

Could you not have remained silent?

Path A: The piece is marked down through a lack of comprehension.
Path B: Explaining the piece increases the likelihood it gets posted, but surely negates the entire point in the process. I'd have stuck with A - it would have been funnier.

Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own; which is the chief reason for that kind of reception it meets in the world, and that so very few are offended with it.


has got us both,
looking for a bed today..."

[ Parent ]
There are two kinds of crimes... (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by maynard on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:09:46 PM EST

malum prohibitum: crimes which are prohibited by law by convention or culture. Traffic lights, sexual conduct, land zoning, drug use and/or sale, railway width, taxation, etc etc etc...

Malum in se: crimes which are reprehensible, evil, and wrong without doubt. Murder, rape, slavery, robbery, assault... there is no doubt about the righteousness of laws in opposition to this.

Some laws which prohibit certain behavior is very beneficial. So, you want to drive on the left side of the street here in the U.S.? Because you liked it in London? Too bad, it's illegal. Damn good idea too. Regulating rail width allowed for a transnational interconnected railway in the nineteenth century. If it were up to the rail companies that might have taken years of consolidation, along with God knows how many miles of wasted track. Good law in my book. I have to agree with you about the drug, sex, and suicide laws though.


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

Not all clear and dry (none / 0) (#56)
by Perpetual Newbie on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:59:11 PM EST

malum prohibitum: crimes which are prohibited by law by convention or culture. Traffic lights, sexual conduct, land zoning, drug use and/or sale, railway width, taxation, etc etc etc...

Malum in se: crimes which are reprehensible, evil, and wrong without doubt. Murder, rape, slavery, robbery, assault... there is no doubt about the righteousness of laws in opposition to this.

Just to note that not everyone agrees on what makes something reprehensibly evil, some people would put drug use in the second set or slavery and robbery in the first. Consider the debate on abortion as another example, and that drunk driving is considered by many today to be in the second set when a generation ago it was universally regarded as being in the first.

[ Parent ]
Submit parody under humor, not op-ed (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by DeadBaby on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:26:52 PM EST

Might have more luck that way.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
also (none / 0) (#7)
by kapital on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:34:49 PM EST

Attach the "author's meta comment" to the story, so that people will actually read it before making their comments, rather than making it the first post.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, I see that now (none / 0) (#10)
by localroger on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:41:45 PM EST

But it really seems like the effectiveness of satire is compromised if you have to fricking explain it. Oh well.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Well.. (none / 0) (#19)
by DeadBaby on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:40:30 PM EST

Otherwise people will just mis-understant and assume it's a troll. They (the trolls) have abused freedom of speech so badly you can't blame people for reacting this way I guess.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
trolls (2.00 / 2) (#49)
by garlic on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 10:20:25 AM EST

hmm... this makes me think that a trolls best effort is truly satire, or Swift and De Sade were trolls in their time. They espouse ideas to the extremes, in the hope of pissing people off, which is the same for both satirists and trolls.

Am I off base here? What seperates a troll post from a satire post?

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

Personal bias, no more no less (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by nevauene on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:38:36 AM EST

Am I off base here? What seperates a troll post from a satire post?

If the reader is successfully trolled, has their most cherished ideas ridiculed, is grossly offended and embarrassed, then they shall deem it an ignorant troll. If the reader is against what is being ridiculed and understands the deeper truth of the caricature, then he calls it satire. That about sums it up.

Imagine how a Tory must have felt reading Swift; actually you don't have to because the Libertarian contingent here is giving us a good approximation on this article.

There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Oxymoron (5.00 / 4) (#12)
by boxed on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:43:17 PM EST

"...where Libertarian ideals reign supreme" is an oxymoron.

laws regarding drugs, suicide and sex (5.00 / 4) (#14)
by mmcc on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:49:48 PM EST

Frank R. Vivelo, the author of Power and Its Consequences; A Rational Perspective had the following to say about these seemingly illogical laws:

These laws exist solely to establish authority of the government in the minds of the citizenry, to demonstrate who has power.

One good exampe is: why is was a convicted killer on death row, who wanted to die prevented from committing suicide, then several days later killed by the state?

In short, the answer is the state is demonstrating it's power to the citizenry (not the criminal!) "Don't mess with us, we control life and death!". Like your example on murder... the state wishes us to believe that only it has the authority to avenge murder.

So in answer to your question, the majority of laws exist to give the state authority. Though laws exists to satistfy the public's wish for justice, they are only to keep the people happy with the government. We are not free because powerful people exist who like to impress upon us that they really are powerful, not because of laws.

highly recommend reading...

Pure Libertarianism is hypocitical (3.50 / 2) (#15)
by egerlach on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 10:51:52 PM EST

*dawns full asbestos body armour and enters blast bunker*

Okay... I'm gonna eat flame for this but here goes...

In your post, you clearly imply that all Law should cease to exist because without it no one can be free. However, you also defend Law in your post. Here's the guilty quote:

America's founders realized this, which is why we have a Second Amendment.

The Constitution is the (theoretical) foundation for all US law (I'm Canadian... so forgive any foolish ignorance I may have). If you laud the Constitution, you laud the existance of Government and Law. The Founding Fathers realised that there had to be laws in order to PROTECT freedoms from possible bad rulers (as they believed that the King of England was at the time). In that sense, it is within the Libertarian paradigm to have those laws.

I'm going to take this point further. Let's say that Law was struck down tomorrow. Consider the software industry. Microsoft would then push, with its near infinite strngth, to close its final grip on the OS market. It would use every single tactic it has in its arsenal. It would steal code from free sofware projects. Why? Because it could. And no one would stop them. Sure, we could now take up arms against them, but they can hire more guns than we are. Oh, and they wouldn't be benevolent dictators of software, no.

Now, admittedly that last is farfetched. But, eventually, someone with ill-concieved intentions of power will rise to the top, proclaim him/herself King/Queen, and begin conquering others. What form of government would we end up with then? Not as good a one as we do now, let me tell you. Why doesn't that happen? Because we're protected from it by the law.

The problem isn't law. Law is only as strong as the society underneath it. The "certain sports celebrity" of which you speak was acquitted by a jury of peers. The morality of the society spoke, and he was set free. If you want to change the way the world works, you have to impose a new morality on society. If we abolished Law right now, society WOULD fall apart, because the people aren't ready for it. Law is a reflection of society, of you and me. So change society, and the law will follow.

P.S. You're preaching to the choir...

Well, that's what you get (none / 0) (#24)
by weirdling on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:47:25 PM EST

Don't base your knowledge of libertarianism off of a badly written and ill-informed satire. These pieces of crap have been floating around and are a characature of real libertarianism, which is seldom anywhere near the real thing.
I get so tired of pointing it out, but almost all libertarians, and, indeed, the Libertarian Party are *for* laws and firm believers in the rule of law, they simply prefer small numbers of intelligently written laws to piles of worthless laws out there today.
Anyway, checking facts is not something that liberals tend to do, choosing, rather to simply lambast than understand. I'm sorry for the misinformation it causes, but then, my entire life recently has consisted of correcting liberal misinformation.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Laws.. (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by ajduk on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 08:49:57 AM EST

There are two reasons why we have lots of laws. One is that laws tend to get passed more than repealed. The other is lawers.

It would be interesting if the LP could formulate this set of simple, clean laws and then pass them to a team of lawers to make them 'watertight' (i.e. preventing them being broken 'in spirit' instead to the letter). You might find a huge pile of massively confusing laws come out..

There are several assumptions behind libertarianism. One is that a completely unfettered free market will be good for everyone. This being the same free market that just presided over the dot-com boom and bust.
Free markets are not rational. Indeed, people were still getting into dot-com shares even when it was obvious they were going to collapse. Given this evidence, why do you assume that free markets always know best?

Another is the assumption that everyone starts from the same position. This is a direct contradiction of the world as we know it; Rich kids have more education, starting capital, time and contacts.

The other problem I have - and I have this problem with many, meny belief systems - is more vague:

A communist will tell you that we will all be happy if we just keep to these simple rules. He/She has all the answers.

An evangelical christian will tell you that we will all be happy if we just keep to these simple rules. He/She has all the answers.

A nazi will tell you that we will all be happy if we just keep to these simple rules. He/She has all the answers.

I could take any one of these positions, and give you an answer to any problem you might have with them. The idea? ANY simple system of rules for government, blindly followed, will lead to a massive amount of personal suffering and economic disaster.

The solution? Muddle. Fudge. Take the middle road. Adopt slightly different systems depending on the national character. Not very glamorous, but it works.

[ Parent ]
Well, pragmatism (none / 0) (#57)
by weirdling on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:01:31 PM EST

Actually, this is another fallacy. Libertarians are not dogmatists. Libertarians do not follow political theory. Libertarians are pragmatists. Socialists are dogmatists; it is a given that we must help the underpriveleged, which constitutes normative thinking. Evangelicals make no bones about being normative; they believe in God's law. Nazis also are normative; they feel with moral certainty that there is such a thing as a superior race and that this race must triumph, etc.

Libertarians believe several things that are obvious from observation:

Humans aren't inherently bad
Most laws are rather stupid
Legal compliance is a major industry but entirely parasitic
It is obvious that the muddling solutions to the problem are worse than no solution at all
It is not entirely obvious that a solution is needed
We should certainly attempt to understand a problem before enacting a solution
Any solution that causes harm to a significant minority must be carefully scrutinized to ensure that the benefit to the majority is sufficiently large as to justify the damage to the minority
No solution that benefits a minority will be enacted unless it does not pose a significant burden on the majority

Taken those basic principles, intelligent law may be written. For instance, gun regulation does not significantly benefit the majority; that can be determined with regressive analysis. However, it does significantly hinder a significant minority, hence does more damage than good. Speed limits have never been demonstrated to be of any help towards reducing accidents, yet are obviously limiting to progress for the majority, hence do more damage than good. Market interventions generally are not known to do good for the general populace, but do cause the market to be less efficient, that is known, and hence they cause more harm than good.

In the case of the dot-bomb situation, those losing money in it knew the risks when they put money in it. It isn't really worth investigating, as the stock market really is a gamble, and any investor will tell you this. There's no sympathy for people who lost their shirt and should be no envy for those who got rich. That's how the game goes. However, notice that if there had been restrictions on IPO cash for dot-coms, we would not have ecommerce today as we know it. In other words, the capital inherent in the market is why the infrastructure got built. Same for junk bonds from the 80s, as Sprint, MCI, and AT&T all built infrastructure for the internet using junk bonds.

I guess the biggest reason I have trouble accepting arguments based on the economy is that a large portion of Libertarian Party leadership are either economists or businessmen who make money in the market and therefore understand it far better than the kind of academe sophist that tends to be statist/socialist.

To summarise: libertarians are rationlists. They believe that with the application of proper thinking and logic that a solution can be deduced that will be defensible. This solution, when enacted into law, will be superior to one derived from dogma, as it is based on a positive understanding of the situation, not on educated guesses.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: libertarians believe... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by janra on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:09:33 PM EST

Libertarians believe several things that are obvious from observation:

I noticed that I believe that several of those items are obvious. However, I still won't call myself 'libertarian', small-l or capital-L, because whenever I read a self-proclaimed libertarian go on at length, I find far too many things I disagree with.

For that matter, I won't name myself by any political affiliation, for the very same reason. I'll agree with a few tenets, but not enough to be comfortable associating myself with that group.

Of course, sometimes I just have to throw up my hands and say "let Darwin take care of them!"

Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
The reason we have lots of laws.... (none / 0) (#61)
by hansel on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:35:20 PM EST

is that an ever-proliferating number of laws is a direct consequence of our common law tradition, which has two sources of law: legislation and precedent. Legislators pass laws, and judges interpret them in particular circumstances. A judge making a ruling is supposed to check both law and previous relevent judgements to ensure consistency; namely, that judge A doesn't rule opposite to judge B's already existing ruling, creating a contradiction in law. When legislators want to overrule precedent, they pass more laws. The effect of this is that laws are continually added to the books to more completely describe the circumstances in which they might be applied. Rather than leave it to a judge's interpretation, legislators craft more and more specific laws to deal with more specific applications, to ensure that the intent of the law isn't thwarted by the interpretation of a single person in a court of law.

If libertarians really wanted to cut down on the number of laws on the books, they would push for activist judges who would strike down laws left and right that didn't meet stringent constitutional requirements. What's required here is a principle of quietism among the judiciary, so that judges are free to dispose of laws that add nothing significant to the conduct of the body politic.

[ Parent ]

Please... (none / 0) (#59)
by janra on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:02:36 PM EST

Don't slam people for spreading misinformation then turn around and spread some yourself.

I've seen people of all political affiliations neglect to check facts. I've also seen people of all political affiliations check facts scrupulously, though they are far rarer. It's not limited to one particular 'wing' of the political spectrum, so please don't pretend your party or philosophy has the moral high ground.

Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Which future do you want to live in? (4.33 / 6) (#17)
by Eloquence on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:13:48 PM EST

This is a good piece of satire, but it only gives a very limited view that is probably not seriously held by many. You have omitted the main argument by Libertarians, the "invisible hand" which, in this case, does not belong to God, but the power of the truly free market.

Some Libertarians believe in an old-testament-style invisible hand that punishes those who are not able or not willing to take their fate in their own hands, others believe in more new-testament like market that will, through voluntary altruism of its participants, meet the most basic needs while guaranteeing steady progress for all. This illustrates a basic problem when dealing with Libertarianism. People are simply projecting their desires for how society should look like, including scenarios reminiscent of feudalism but also bright and shining utopias of freedom, equality and progress, into an ideology. Libertarianism is much more flexible than other ideologies in that regard, since it does not have any rules to speak of, it is untested (unless you count the Dark Ages), and speculation is based on lots of different variables.

To give you some examples of what I'm talking about, many Libertarians will likely contradict your presentation of murder and child abuse by pointing out that communities or individuals will pay for "private protection agencies" which will fill the role of the police. These PPAs will either protect your life and your property, or that of a given community. Now the Libertarians who want to live in a "strong vs. weak" type society will justify that those who are not able to pay for their own protection will rightly suffer, while the more altruistic ones will try to describe market-based solutions for solving these problems. Likewise, indeed, some Libertarians consider children to be property of their parents, while others feel like either the kids themselves or the community have an obligation to prevent harm. Some Libertarians believe that accumulation of money and power is inevitable and a good things, while others think that it doesn't happen in a free market. Some of them think that large corporate mass media are not an issue since our decision-making process is fundamentally "free", while others believe that media will become less centralized and therefore lead to more informed decisions. Most of them believe things will get much better after whatever revolution they have in mind has happened, but their definition of "better" varies a lot.

So people who might all call themselves Libertarians fundamentally disagree on how they want to live, they only agree on how to get there. I think if we want to talk to each other for more than just for testing our worldview, we should first agree on how the future we want to live in is supposed to look. I, for one, do not want to live in the neo-feudalistic future many Libertarians strive for; I want a pleasure-permissive, open-minded, liberal future that holds the needs of the many as more important than the needs of the few, but also tries to hold up individual freedom whenever reasonably possible. I want the minimum amount of violence, aggression and exploitation possible without living in a politically correct society of mutual sedation. I think many Libertarians want the same, we just disagree on the solutions. We should try to find out what we disagree on, try to test if we can agree on these things, and then try to work together in accomplishing the things we agree on, in specialized communities.

In that respect, I see K5 as a brainpool for finding likeminded individuals while, at the same time, throwing ideas into the open for public dissection to avoid intellectual inbreeding.
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!

As a libertarian... (5.00 / 5) (#18)
by Sheepdot on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:27:43 PM EST

I don't think "laws suck". I think that most regulations suck, imparticular regulations for the latest health, enviromental, or "other" movement. Oftentimes with ulterior motives.

But I have always strongly told people that as a libertarian, I fully back a STRONG government. That, IMHO, is what sets libertarians apart from anarchists.

My beliefs aside, it is the *ideas* that I politically strive for. Such as, the idea that maybe a government *doesn't* need to spend billions on welfare, social security, or etc.

The way I *believe* makes me an anarcho-capitalist in some respects. I know that any kind of utopia is nothing but a hope for fools, including a libertarian one. I'm a libertarian because I have yet to see either of the two big parties commit to the kind of decentralization of the goverment that I would like to see. The *idea* that such a thing could happen is what interests me, hence my voting someone in who has the same *idea*.

I'd rather socialism exist on the state or local level than sit and keep watching it grip the central government that I have to live under. At some point in my country's (going US-centric here, forgive me) history, the decision was made by special interests to enact laws strictly on the federal level rather than locally. This IMHO is the first major hurdle and the reason that I feel more at home with the LP.

Other countries, like Britain, have the SNP, that is already starting to decentralize control in some parts of the country. I only wish that kind of stuff would happen over here.

I'm not sick of laws by themselves, I'm sick of laws that are written by someone that I have no chance of ever meeting in my life, even if I strive throughout it to meet them.

Which is why the UN *really* bugs me. Some guys and gals who may never even come within 5,000 miles of me are going to create the laws that I have to abide by? You've *got* to be kidding me!

*sigh* (1.00 / 1) (#65)
by kmon on Sat Aug 04, 2001 at 02:13:41 PM EST

Which is why the UN *really* bugs me. Some guys and gals who may never even come within 5,000 miles of me are going to create the laws that I have to abide by? You've *got* to be kidding me!
Read a bit about the UN. You'll learn a few things like this: The UN general assembly is not a lawmaking body. They can only issue resolutions that are not enforcable. Any action commanded by the UN security council can be vetoed by any member of the security council. The US is a permanent member of the UN security council. Therefore, the UN cannot pass any law that affects you without it being approved implicitly by your elected representatives. Unless you're not an American (or a citizen of one of the other 12 members of the security council), but I suspect from your attitude you are.
ad hoc, ad hominem, ad infinitum!
[ Parent ]
-1 (1.25 / 4) (#20)
by SnowBlind on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:41:12 PM EST

Life is short, nasty, and brutish?
Sorry, Think I'll pass.

There is but One Kernel, and root is His Prophet.
Libertarianism vs. Anarchy (3.75 / 4) (#26)
by Anatta on Tue Jul 24, 2001 at 11:53:38 PM EST

I loved the story, and I'm always fascinated to read the philosophies of the bizarre and twisted, whether they be De Sade or Nietzsche or whomever. Anyway, the liberty you (or De Sade) are suggesting is really anarchy... social darwinism.

While on one level, anarchy is about as liberating as one can get, on another level it is not. This is because in a very logical way, laws can actually make people freer.

For example, private property laws do this. I have a computer. I own it. You cannot simultaneously own it, nor can you take control of it without my consent. Because of the private property law, I no longer have to really worry about my property being stolen, and I can go about doing other things like making more of it, or giving it away. However, the other side of this is that you can't take it. It's not owned by you, you have no right to take it. You do, of course, have every right to go buy/create your own computer that you own, which I cannot take. Though private property laws limit non-owners from simply taking the property of owners, it also guarantees all the right to own something.

Free speech is another wonderful example of this phenomenon. Under anarchy, everyone has free speech... but if I call you a racial epithet or you are having a bad day and don't like what I say, you can shoot me dead, and only I will be worse for it. Under anarchy, speech is free, but you could easily die by saying something. Under law, however, free speech actually is free. If I call you a racial epithet, you couldn't kill me... you could, however, tell me I'm a racist scumbag who deserves to die, and point out that all of humanity belongs in fact to a single race. Free speech under law forces you to combat my ideas with your own ideas, rather than your firepower.

So... some laws are good, but others (according to non-anarchist libertarians) are not. Which ones are not? Let's look at sodomy laws. I dunno exactly how they're phrased, but I would guess it would go something like "if you 'commit sodomy' on another person, you get $X fine and X days in jail." How does that make you freer? Well, prudish Ms. Johnson may be free from seeing acts of sodomy, however the rest of the nation (including Ms. Johnson) cannot 'commit' them -- the rest of the nation is less free. It's a negative right -- a freedom to be free of sodomy. It's authoritarian in nature, not libertarian. A libertarian would argue that all have the right to commit sodomy, but Ms. Johnson has the right to go hide in her house and not see it.

I've never really thought this out before, and I imagine once I click the post button I'll see some sort of hole in my logic, but I think the principal is there.

As I'm previewing this, I'm trying to figure out how slavery laws would work... If I have the right to own you, you no longer have the right to anything. This law is obviously not a libertarian law.

Laws that defend freedom for all are good laws. Laws that remove freedom are not good laws. This is why libertarians are not anarchists. I'm not entirely sure my analysis is right, however I think it's a bit of a step towards determining which laws promote freedom and which laws don't. If anyone out there can expand on/critique the ideas, I'd appreciate it!
My Music

About laws... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by Signal 11 on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 12:28:33 AM EST

Your article could be best summed up as:

A just man doesn't need laws to do right, and an unjust man will find ways around the law.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

lord (4.00 / 4) (#38)
by streetlawyer on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:41:13 AM EST

your post could be best summed up as ....

Look at me! Look at me!

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Recursion (5.00 / 1) (#58)
by Signal 11 on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 08:45:19 PM EST

So could yours.

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
recursion truncated (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by streetlawyer on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 02:10:52 AM EST

fuck off.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
I win! (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by Signal 11 on Thu Jul 26, 2001 at 02:00:43 PM EST

Hehehehe. :)

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]
Traitor (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by mami on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:04:32 AM EST

I can tell you that as an honest and upright Libertarian, if I ever kill someone there will be a very good chance that it was someone who needed killing.

And I can tell you that as an honest and upright non trolling K5 reading idiot, if I ever kill someone, there will be a very good chance that is was someone troll who needed killing. :-)

Damn, and I thought at least the gambling story was partly non fiction. Arghh, I hope you had your fun. If you weren't such a darn good writer, I definitely would love to kill you troll. (It's a joke, stupid). Well, well, that's how it feels to read a trolling story... mean, mean.

You also sound like the guy who had written a very good satire before, have forgotten the nick, was from MIT.

Man, you are gambling with people's emotions. Betcha, you are going to loose and I am going to win. Revenge of the blissful ignorants. Just watch.

ROTFL! (3.66 / 3) (#37)
by iwnbap on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 02:37:06 AM EST

I'm glad someone has finally said this! I'm attracted to the ideas of libertarians, but I can't stand how goddammedly pompous they all are. I expect now we'll see 10s, 100s of posts of the form "but this is not really what {L|l}ibertarianism is all about". Grow a sense of humour!

Something smells. (1.71 / 7) (#39)
by endspace on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 03:28:23 AM EST

That is the biggest pile of horseshit I have ever heard. And I hope to God I never have you as a neighbor.

My judicial solution: (none / 0) (#47)
by MicroBerto on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:34:10 AM EST

Torture. Why don't we use it for clearly convicted murderers, rapists, and child abusers? Jail and death penalties obviously don't work as either rehabilitators or scare-tactics. While we're not rehabilitating, we may as well just torture the scum of the earth.

I have no problem with it, until I'm wrongly convicted of a crime, at least!

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

+1 FP (none / 0) (#48)
by your_desired_username on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 09:37:55 AM EST

mmmmm... human baby flesh stir-fried with rice ... yummmmmmm

The Cliffs Notes (3.42 / 7) (#51)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 11:58:50 AM EST

Hi. My name is localroger. As you can see, I've never read any serious work on the topics of minarchy, anarchocapitalism, or any closely related political theory, and I obviously don't know the claims and arguments of any of their ethical or economic underpinnings, but I feel that I should write a bad parody of what 11 year olds think libertarianism is. After all, since I am well educated on the topic of casinos, clearly I know everything important about libertarianism!

The rest, as you can imagine, is inane crap, so the editors have declined to include coverage of any of it.

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

Very Interesting (none / 0) (#54)
by Logan on Wed Jul 25, 2001 at 01:23:40 PM EST

Although I suppose it was meant to paint libertarians in a negative light, I actually agree with most of these points. Some of the garbage about Thraceans and Greeks and Darwinism I find worthless here, but for the most part the story centers around society's built-in capabilities to define its own order. This is what I believe in, and this is why I call myself an anarchist. I think it's a widely misunderstood view, and, despite this story's efforts to devalue it, it might at the very least give those unfamiliar with anarchism a better idea of what anarchists believe.


Yet Another Effort, K5'ers | 65 comments (38 topical, 27 editorial, 0 hidden)
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