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I am a libertarian, come debate me!

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  • Other Party
    California
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    Hello,

    I am a new member on this forum. I know you all are mostly left-wing, but I would like to discuss the validity of libertarian politics. I am 29 years old and I've been involved in politics and philosophy for a decade now. I have come to the conclusion that libertarian anti-State political theory is the only morally defensible position on social organization. I want to put forward a few basic concepts for you all to either accept or reject.

    In the first place after studying philosophy and ethics for a few years, I have a great deal of difficulty in accepting any theory of ethics that is not universal. To elaborate, if we are studying which types of human interactions are morally justified and which are grossly immoral, then any interaction between human beings must be judged based on a logical and consistent ethical standard. If we decide that murder is an immoral act, then it must be judged to be immoral regardless of which human beings commit the act. Ceteris paribus (Latin for "all things being equal"), it should not matter at all if the murderer is poor or wealthy, white or black, religious or not religious, gay or straight. If we determine that an action is immoral, then it must be viewed as immoral consistently by society.

    While philosophers might argue over exactly what actions are moral or immoral, what is being sought is a universal standard by which to judge human behavior. Therefore right off the bat we can see that any proposed moral standard that is inconsistent or not universal is fallacious and fraudulent.

    Libertarianism holds that the act of aggression is immoral. What this means is that the initiation of force, a boundary crossing or invasion of the person or property of another without his or her permission is an immoral act and civilized society should prohibit such acts of aggression. The fact that all civilized people already accept and inherently acknowledge the wrongness of using violence against others provides more than enough evidence that aggression is indeed an immoral act. The primary issue therefore is that nearly all people make certain exceptions for this ethical rule such that certain privileged people are permitted to act in ways that "normal" people cannot. In fact, actions that would be universally condemned and seen as grossly offensive to our sensibilities if committed by a private citizen are routinely tolerated and endless excuses are provided to justify the act.

    Of course I am referring to actions taken by a central authority, otherwise known as the State. How can it be that an ethical principle for human behavior can be logically defended when it is not universal?

    Libertarians hold that human beings own themselves, they own their physical bodies and responsibility for their actions. Physical aggression against the body of another is rightly viewed as immoral by nearly every person on the planet. However, this standard of non-aggression extends to things that come to be owned external to the physical body.

    The only way to determine what is aggression and what is not aggression is to have a coherent theory of property rights. It might be plainly clear that acts of violence against the physical body of another are aggression, but acts that involve external objects require a theory of property rights.

    Why do property rights even exist? Property rights are how human beings evolved to deal with the reality of scarcity. If all desired things existed in super-abundance then no property rights would be needed. As long as breathable air remains in super-abundance we don't need any property rights assigned since my breathing of the air does not adversely affect your ability to breath air. However since most things exist in scarcity and there are not enough goods to satisfy all human desires, conflict is inevitable. Conflict arises from the fact that more than one person want to use or control the same scarce resource. Since this is the reality of living with scarcity, humans evolved into assigning property rights where each person was clear who had authority over the use of which scarce resource. Private property rights minimizes conflict since everyone is made clearly aware of what is owned by who.

    Private property rights are required for a functional market economy and division of labor and the resulting expansion of wealth and human prosperity. Without private property rights, each will be scrambling to use all the desired scarce resources, no savings are accumulated and there is no security and no production.

    Libertarians believe that just private property rights can arise in one of two ways. The first and original way is through homesteading or first appropriation. This means that you mix your labor with previously unowned land. If you own your own body and you mix your labor with land, you transform it in some way and the land becomes essentially an extension of your self ownership. The same is true if you manufacture a product, you build a table or sculpt a sculpture. Now once all desired land is homesteaded, then peaceful and voluntary trade can occur. If you trade a homesteaded or legitimately acquired or produced scarce resource with someone else you are transferring the property title and the new user of the scarce resource now has ownership rights to it. He or she will retain those rights until they sell or give it away at a future date or abandon it.

    Since libertarians see aggression as illegitimate and immoral, and self ownership and private property as logically irrefutable, we must oppose acts of aggression in all their forms. In essence, voluntarism, trade and cooperation are the means employed by civilized people, while theft, violence and intimidation are used by savages.

    I have yet to find a philosophic argument put forward that ethics can or should apply only to some. If we stop making exceptions to the moral principles nearly all of us hold in our daily lives, and apply the same scrutiny and standard to agents of the State (police, politicians, the military, bureaucrats, crony capitalists, Federal Reserve bankers, etc) then the moral foundation for and legitimacy of such a predatory institution crumbles.

    This is my first defense of libertarian principles. I don't want to hear objections about how this or that institution or State function might work in a libertarian society or any such utilitarian concerns as of yet. I first want to hear you critique the principle of self ownership. I want to hear a reason why ethical rules can or should be non-universal. I want to hear you explain why you are content to espouse barbarism and violent exploitation, instead of the consistent and principled defense of non-aggression as the libertarians do.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    " Previously unowned land" are you serious? Are you speaking of the land we stole from the native Americans or all land in general that no one appears to control? You obviously have a lot more to learn about human nature and life in general. Keep up your studies!
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    pr Wrote: " Previously unowned land" are you serious? Are you speaking of the land we stole from the native Americans or all land in general that no one appears to control? You obviously have a lot more to learn about human nature and life in general. Keep up your studies!
    Great answer!!!
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    Libertarians feel that way until they need a fire put out, or maybe even a cop. That idea goes away as soon as they need public assistance. ..and then they come to the government for help. There's and old saying...." it ain't fun when the rabbit s got the gun. A true libertarian would relinquish all his entitlements and fend for himself....but we know that's not gonna happen...Libertarians are nothing more then pissed off liberals
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    jrodefeld Wrote: This is my first defense of libertarian principles. I don't want to hear objections about how this or that institution or State function might work in a libertarian society or any such utilitarian concerns as of yet. I first want to hear you critique the principle of self ownership. I want to hear a reason why ethical rules can or should be non-universal. I want to hear you explain why you are content to espouse barbarism and violent exploitation, instead of the consistent and principled defense of non-aggression as the libertarians do.
    Welcome to the DemocraticHub, jrodefeld. You may have some difficulty finding many people who agree with you on the forums, but your points of view are welcome on this website.

    I will start off by saying that it's difficult to debate someone over the pro's and con's of Libertarianism if you confine the debate to a singular issue, this one being the principle of self ownership. Libertarianism is far more complex than being confined to this singular debate topic.

    The concept of self ownership in and of itself is something that sounds sexy and I actually agree with many of it's tenants, but it gets more complex when you bring in a growing world population and the demands that places on a society. It would be wonderful if an individual had complete control over their own body and life's path, but you lose me when you extend those same rights to multinational corporations.

    Another problem with this philosophy is that it completely neglects to bring history into account. Libertarians seem to just cast aside centuries of racial and gender discrimination that we continue to deal with today. How in the world can we enact the policies that you wish to enact while ensuring that everyone actually does have an equal place at the table? It is literally impossible to accomplish and is one of many reasons why I don't think that Libertarianism is a sound policy.

    We also must address the fact that it is nearly impossible to run a functioning government this way. Who will put the fires out and respond to crime if we conform to your orthodoxy? How would we ensure that all children receive a proper education if we adapt your way of thinking? Who will build the roads, railways, hospitals, dams, and countless other projects that must be completed in order to keep a society of 300 million from crumbling apart?

    I welcome your response to these questions and anything else you wish to discuss.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:

    I will start off by saying that it's difficult to debate someone over the pro's and con's of Libertarianism if you confine the debate to a singular issue, this one being the principle of self ownership. Libertarianism is far more complex than being confined to this singular debate topic.

    Pretty much this. I love hearing new points of view. But debating a wide range of topics on a single forum. So feel free to reply to anything topic or start a whole new thread.

    Also, welcome to the site!
  • Other Party
    California
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    pr Wrote: " Previously unowned land" are you serious? Are you speaking of the land we stole from the native Americans or all land in general that no one appears to control? You obviously have a lot more to learn about human nature and life in general. Keep up your studies!
    The homesteading principle, otherwise known as the first user principle, is a theory that explains how private property comes into legitimate ownership originally. Obviously today there are not many frontiers, at least not to the citizens of Nation States, and therefore simply going out and appropriating land that you think is unowned is unwise because it is highly likely that someone already has some claim to ownership.

    You are probably questioning the value of a theory of homesteading since in the United States all desired land has already been appropriated by others and a great deal of property has indeed been stolen from Native Americans or otherwise acquired through theft, government privilege or other illegitimate means. But before we discuss that, do you honestly dispute the validity of homesteading or original appropriation for assigning private property rights for genuinely unexplored and unused land that has never before had use by human beings?

    Let us suppose that we discover a new frontier of unexplored and uninhabited land somewhere that has never been touched by humans. How do property rights come into existence provided anyone wants to move there or use the resources there? If not the first user, then who? The second? The fifteenth?

    Libertarians have been incredibly outspoken and vocal about the callous disregard for the principles of property rights when our ancestors stole the land of the native Americans, relegated them to reservations. Unfortunately most civilizations and the States that unfortunately governed the hapless citizens have not cared much for philosophy, ethics or respect for self ownership and the right to private property. The theft of land and private property over the centuries has been horribly unjust and widespread throughout human civilizations.

    If you have a coherent and valid theory of how private property comes into existence (i.e. homesteading or original appropriation) then you have a proper framework with which to judge and remedy past theft. Therefore if any person can prove that they or their ancestors had their land or property stolen, then that land or property should be returned to its rightful owner. However the burden of proof rests on those that seek to overturn existing property titles.

    I don't know what is so hard to understand about this concept of private property rights? It seems to me to be the only logical and defensible system of just property acquisition. All other forms of property acquisition involve theft and/or violence.

    Why don't you give a more detailed critique of the above proposal?
  • Other Party
    California
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    L.A. Citizen Wrote: Libertarians feel that way until they need a fire put out, or maybe even a cop. That idea goes away as soon as they need public assistance. ..and then they come to the government for help. There's and old saying...." it ain't fun when the rabbit s got the gun. A true libertarian would relinquish all his entitlements and fend for himself....but we know that's not gonna happen...Libertarians are nothing more then pissed off liberals
    I have no idea what this even means. Libertarians don't believe that "every man should fend for himself" or any of that nonsense. Humans are social creatures who are reliant on society and community in a myriad of ways. We encourage people to work together and help each other out. The only thing we oppose is the initiation of force.

    You are making the faulty assumption that if libertarians oppose the State, they necessarily must oppose the services that the State currently monopolizes. All the current State functions, that are both inefficient and funded through coercive taxation, could be better provided through voluntary contract and mutual aid associations between members of different communities.

    If I live in a neighborhood or small town with many others, naturally we would all need and require emergency services. So naturally communities could and would hire fire fighters or build and maintain a fire department to collectively protect the community. Similarly, any rational group of people will want to have security and defense of their person and property. Therefore they would most likely hire defense agencies to protect them and apprehend violent criminals on their behalf.

    Rather than a community being terrorized by the Police as is so often the case with State monopolized police services, the security firms would be answerable to voluntarily paying customers who have many alternatives available to them should the security agency provide inadequate protection and/or abuse the citizens of that community.

    Of course libertarians want to be a part of society and we fully grasp the reality that we are dependent on one another. Of course we also need police protection and emergency services. We too need a community we can rely upon should we come upon hard times. We just don't think it is moral to put a gun to peoples heads to fund our preferred method of providing these social services and vital functions.

    I am reminded of a famous quote by the great 19th century classical liberal philosopher and writer Frederic Bastiat:

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
  • Other Party
    California
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    jrodefeld Wrote: This is my first defense of libertarian principles. I don't want to hear objections about how this or that institution or State function might work in a libertarian society or any such utilitarian concerns as of yet. I first want to hear you critique the principle of self ownership. I want to hear a reason why ethical rules can or should be non-universal. I want to hear you explain why you are content to espouse barbarism and violent exploitation, instead of the consistent and principled defense of non-aggression as the libertarians do.
    Welcome to the DemocraticHub, jrodefeld. You may have some difficulty finding many people who agree with you on the forums, but your points of view are welcome on this website.

    I will start off by saying that it's difficult to debate someone over the pro's and con's of Libertarianism if you confine the debate to a singular issue, this one being the principle of self ownership. Libertarianism is far more complex than being confined to this singular debate topic.
    I appreciate your response. I know I probably won't find many who agree, but that is why I enjoy these discussions. It is rather boring to discuss complex issues with people who agree with you all the time and merely reinforce your already existing prejudices.

    We don't have to confine the discussion to self ownership and private property. I said what I said primarily because when I debate people they inevitably just skip over these fundamental questions and go straight into utilitarian concerns like "How will the roads be built?", or any variation on such a question. To ask such questions without confronting the more fundamental questions seems to me to be an intellectual error, a gross misplacement of values.

    Before we talk about what society may or may not look like in a future society based on non-aggression, it is more important to first ask whether aggression is morally justified. If aggression is in fact moral, why is it not moral for all members of society? Why do we morally condemn acts of aggression for private citizens yet we support it for politicians and agents of the State? Are politicians somehow better people than the rest of us? Why should they not be confined by morality as are the rest of us?

    If you somehow determine that it is ethical to steal property provided you spent it on a worthy cause, then why not extend this moral principle to regular people? Why can I not rob a bank if I spend all the stolen money feeding the homeless? Why can't the Red Cross steal your money to help desperate people in Africa?

    How do you justify this inconsistency? You might think this question is rather silly, but I think it is absolutely fundamental and vitally important.

    In the 20th century alone, States murdered more than 270 million of their own people. This statistic does not include wars between States that ending up killing tens of millions (hundreds?) more.

    The State is a unique institution in human society in its capacity to do great harm. Every sociopath and criminal on the planet would love to gain control of such an all powerful institution. We need to ask very fundamental questions about why exactly this agency has legitimacy. What gives these people the right to act in ways that would be considered a great evil in private life but as agents of the State they are just carrying out "public policy".

    jaredsxtn Wrote:

    The concept of self ownership in and of itself is something that sounds sexy and I actually agree with many of it's tenants, but it gets more complex when you bring in a growing world population and the demands that places on a society. It would be wonderful if an individual had complete control over their own body and life's path, but you lose me when you extend those same rights to multinational corporations.
    I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions about genuine libertarian theory. I don't support giving these rights to corporations. A corporation isn't a person, it is a legal fiction that was created through State legislation. The CEO of a corporation would have rights and self ownership as an individual but the "corporation" would not have any rights. Only human beings have rights.

    The Corporation, particularly the limited liability legal entity, is an artificial construct that was created as a legal shield to protect the businessmen and shareholders from liability for their actions. If you pollute someones air and destroy their property, just sue the "corporation". You might even get a few bucks back if you are lucky, an inconsequentially small figure that is not even felt on the bottom line.

    In a libertarian society there is no "corporation", at least as it has historically existed. There are only businesses and entrepreneurs who form companies through contract. But libertarian legal theory says that each must bear full liability for his or her actions. If a businessman is responsible for decisions which greatly harm you, your property, the environment or your health, then all those responsible must pay restitution and face legal repercussions personally.

    Big Business has profited greatly from the State. Businessmen and heads of industry are always looking to protect their wealth, to cartelize and monopolize. Since this proves difficult or impossible on the market, business leaders inevitably have turned to the State to write favorable legislation, to subsidize and bail them out and create monopoly conditions for them.

    I agree with the Left that this is an atrocious abuse of power and privilege. It is an outrage. But you shouldn't ever think that the "free market" is an economic system that emboldens the Corporation or business leaders.

    I know what leftists think when they hear the term "free market". They imagine things being exactly how they are today, with the wealth disparity, the corporate abuse, the pollution and banker bailouts, yet they think that even the inconsequential and inadequate laws supposedly regulating this behavior will be removed leaving the Corporations with TOTAL power.

    I've heard this all before. The problem is that it is not even close to being true. First we have to understand that the Corporations that we complain about the most all have market shares and power that would be unattainable in the market economy. The State has in essence rigged the game in favor of the connected lobbyists and against the interests of the consumer. Resources are misallocated, banks are bailed out, military contractors make billions off of killing people and drug and insurance companies make billions by providing largely unnecessary and dangerous prescription drugs (not all of them obviously) and by denying patients medical care. This is an entirely artificial state of affairs.

    Once you remove the State crutches and subsidies, these businesses will have to sink and swim based on their ability to compete in the market economy.

    The free market IS a system of regulation. Businesses are regulated through competition. They are regulated through scrutiny and dissemination of information about their business practices. They are regulated through the strict enforcement of private property rights and the non-aggression principle.

    In short, the businessman must deal with competition on the market and face the same legal standard for his actions that every one of us face.

    There is a reason why the large corporations routinely support advocates of economic regulation and expansion of State power. Business leaders and bankers would rather have a welfare State leftist in charge long before they would every support a radical abolitionist like Ron Paul. They want nothing to do with the free market.

    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Another problem with this philosophy is that it completely neglects to bring history into account. Libertarians seem to just cast aside centuries of racial and gender discrimination that we continue to deal with today. How in the world can we enact the policies that you wish to enact while ensuring that everyone actually does have an equal place at the table? It is literally impossible to accomplish and is one of many reasons why I don't think that Libertarianism is a sound policy.
    We support equality under the law, as in the application of ethical rules of conduct applied to all members of society equally. However, equality in any other sense is ridiculous and naive. Murray Rothbard authored an essay called "Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature". It is of course true that certain groups have faced injustices that others have not. It is also true that some are advantaged in some ways over others. But these advantages and disadvantages go far beyond gender, race or religion. Good looking people are terribly advantaged over ugly people. Some people develop horrible diseases that disable them for life while others are blessed with good health.

    A lot of what you are able to achieve in life has to do with hard work and ambition. But it is also true that there is an element of luck. Some people have to deal with misfortune and tremendous disadvantages.

    Is it really rational or even sane to advocate the initiation of violence to supposedly redress all these happenstance inequities and make everyone equal? It is an impossible task and even if it were possible, it would be foolish to do so. Inequality is a fact of nature and to support rigid egalitarianism on all fronts is indeed a revolt against nature.

    What we can do is to prevent anyone from using aggression against anyone else. We can endorse a system of voluntarism where we work to resolve our human problems through cooperation rather than threats and violence.

    Of course we should help those that are disadvantaged in some way and we certainly can be sensitive to past injustices and treat people will compassion and understanding. But when you endorse the use of State expropriation and redistribution to deal with the problem of discrimination and inequality, you merely give the State the opportunity to demagogue and use a divisive issue to polarize the electorate. Virtually no one in government actually wants to achieve egalitarianism. Agents of the State are themselves the most privileged members of society. It is a contradiction in values. First you grant a small percentage of people in a society the power to rule over the rest of us while being immune and exempt from the moral and legislative laws that we peasants must comply with, yet we ask them to fight the great evil of inequality?!


    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    We also must address the fact that it is nearly impossible to run a functioning government this way. Who will put the fires out and respond to crime if we conform to your orthodoxy? How would we ensure that all children receive a proper education if we adapt your way of thinking? Who will build the roads, railways, hospitals, dams, and countless other projects that must be completed in order to keep a society of 300 million from crumbling apart?

    I welcome your response to these questions and anything else you wish to discuss.
    No offense meant, but your questions are kind of irrelevant. There are a million ways to build a road or educate children. What we are asking is: Is this particular way of providing such services, i.e. violent expropriation and intimidation by a central State, morally justified? Is aggression moral or immoral?

    I've used this example before but I'll use it again. If we lived in 1840 and I was an abolitionist and you were a defender of slavery you could make the exact same utilitarian argument against abolition of slavery. You could say "but who will pick the cotton? How could any economy survive without necessary slave labor to support it? I don't see any contemporary examples of an industrial economy thriving without the help of slave labor". You could oppose abolition of slavery on these utilitarian grounds, because you lacked the imagination to think of any other way that the cotton could get picked.

    What actually happened after the abolition of slavery was something that no one could have predicted. A hundred years after abolition, less than 5% of the population of the United States were involved in agriculture, while production had increased to such an extent that we could comfortably feed a population of 320 million people. Giant machines harvest crops that even the most ambitious sci-fi writer could scarcely have predicted.

    The future is unknowable and human ingenuity and inventiveness in solving our common human problems should never be underestimated.

    The abolitionist never needed to try to predict how the economy would develop and how all goods would be produced without slave labor, he merely had to prove that slavery was a moral abomination and a great evil.

    Since there are a million ways to build roads or educate children, and since these are things that are valued by most people, then it can be predicted that any number of alternative methods of producing these goods will arise once the State monopoly breaks down. I personally am not an expert at teaching nor of building roads. I'll leave the specifics to the professionals.

    If the goal is to pick the cotton, and you reject a clearly immoral method of achieving that end (the enslavement of Africans), then you can substitute any number of non coercive alternatives to picking the cotton. You could pay workers wages, but since they are paid they will be more motivated and more productive therefore you wouldn't lose wages. Or you could invent machines and automate the process saving money on labor.

    Just as none could have foreseen the voluntary and non-coercive alternatives to harvesting cotton at the signing of the 13th Amendment, we cannot predict exactly how or in what manner education and roads can be best produced and delivered. But we can tell that if there is a demand for such goods, then entrepreneurs will meet that need.

    We have to be guided by principles. Central planners and monopolists shut out alternatives and presume to know the best delivery of goods and services. Libertarians don't want to plan for anyone else. No central plan can ever replace the ingenuity of voluntary individuals in the marketplace applying their own ingenuity towards solving market needs.
  • Other Party
    California
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    Is the topic of libertarianism too broad for a single thread? I can narrow the focus.

    Anyway, I appreciate the welcome response I've gotten from most so far. Some forums I visit I have gotten attacked for challenging the prevailing attitudes and opinions. It's better to just discuss the issues openly and it seems like you all encourage that.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    For starters, there are things that are necessities that just aren't profitable. Firefighting and policing for example. You can't reasonable expect to charge someone before extinguishing their house nor would be be reasonable to hire private investigators for every crime committed. Taxes function as a collective insurance in these matters.

    Then there are things should not be profitable. These things should be consider public goods. I qualify a public good as something that is so beneficial to society as a whole, that it should not be reserved just for those who are wealthy enough to pay for it. These services should be provided by the government. Under these categories would be things like roads, education, electricity, military/defense, libraries & museums (knowledge; eventually the internet may fall under that), postal service, waste management, basic foods (farm subsidies), prison system, emergency relief, standardized weights and measures, airways, scientific research and probably a handful of other things that I can't think of off the top of my head. Healthcare is one that should also be on that list but the US is really behind the times on that subject. These are things that are not considered luxuries and the government should be able to provide with taxes. People having general access to these things helps society as a whole. Now, private companies can open up in these areas and provide services, and they do. We have toll roads, private schools, and privatized prisons. We have companies like DHL and UPS. There are private investigators and privately owned research labs.

    Ideally, on paper, capitalism would create competition between companies that would cause innovation. But in practice, that is not what is happening at all. Just the opposite, actually. The powerful companies are spending billions on maintaining the status quo. Comcast and Verizon for example have joined together to squash innovation. They have effectively divided up the country and created an oligopoly.

    Powerful gas and oil lobbyists and companies also spend billions to stop alternative energy from being developed. They try and get legislation passed (such as that bill in Michigan) that would outlaw companies like Tesla from selling their products.

    Hypothetically speaking, in the 80's what if the lobbyists for the typewriter companies were successfully able to shut down the computer start-ups of Macintosh or Microsoft. Think of how much farther behind we would be. What would have happened if the government didn't ban the use of lead in things like gasoline and paint. The unregulated market lead to the Great Depression and legislation was passed to prevent banks from creating that scenario again. Then that exact bit of legislation was repealed in 1999 which lead to the market crash 8 years later when the government had to bail out banks,

    What it boils down to is that the free market is great for somethings but REALLY, REALLY bad at others. And while you may say that maybe the market just hasn't found a way yet, historically speaking, there have been catastrophic failures. If the market destroys itself, then it will never find those solutions on its own and our entire civilization will pay the price.

    And while yes, we should be guided by principles, many of those principles need to be backed up legislation because time and time again people have shown themselves to be selfish and ruthless when it comes to making a profit.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Zach F Wrote: For starters, there are things that are necessities that just aren't profitable. Firefighting and policing for example. You can't reasonable expect to charge someone before extinguishing their house nor would be be reasonable to hire private investigators for every crime committed. Taxes function as a collective insurance in these matters.

    Then there are things should not be profitable. These things should be consider public goods. I qualify a public good as something that is so beneficial to society as a whole, that it should not be reserved just for those who are wealthy enough to pay for it. These services should be provided by the government. Under these categories would be things like roads, education, electricity, military/defense, libraries & museums (knowledge; eventually the internet may fall under that), postal service, waste management, basic foods (farm subsidies), prison system, emergency relief, standardized weights and measures, airways, scientific research and probably a handful of other things that I can't think of off the top of my head. Healthcare is one that should also be on that list but the US is really behind the times on that subject. These are things that are not considered luxuries and the government should be able to provide with taxes. People having general access to these things helps society as a whole. Now, private companies can open up in these areas and provide services, and they do. We have toll roads, private schools, and privatized prisons. We have companies like DHL and UPS. There are private investigators and privately owned research labs.

    Ideally, on paper, capitalism would create competition between companies that would cause innovation. But in practice, that is not what is happening at all. Just the opposite, actually. The powerful companies are spending billions on maintaining the status quo. Comcast and Verizon for example have joined together to squash innovation. They have effectively divided up the country and created an oligopoly.

    Powerful gas and oil lobbyists and companies also spend billions to stop alternative energy from being developed. They try and get legislation passed (such as that bill in Michigan) that would outlaw companies like Tesla from selling their products.

    Hypothetically speaking, in the 80's what if the lobbyists for the typewriter companies were successfully able to shut down the computer start-ups of Macintosh or Microsoft. Think of how much farther behind we would be. What would have happened if the government didn't ban the use of lead in things like gasoline and paint. The unregulated market lead to the Great Depression and legislation was passed to prevent banks from creating that scenario again. Then that exact bit of legislation was repealed in 1999 which lead to the market crash 8 years later when the government had to bail out banks,

    What it boils down to is that the free market is great for somethings but REALLY, REALLY bad at others. And while you may say that maybe the market just hasn't found a way yet, historically speaking, there have been catastrophic failures. If the market destroys itself, then it will never find those solutions on its own and our entire civilization will pay the price.

    And while yes, we should be guided by principles, many of those principles need to be backed up legislation because time and time again people have shown themselves to be selfish and ruthless when it comes to making a profit.
    "Zach" I could not have said it any better; compliments
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    As I've stated many times...we don't have rights....we have privileges that can be taken from you at any time. I live in America 2014 where selfishness and greed prevail. I let our situation act as evidence. You and I can smoke some pot and discuss the way things SHOULD be all day long. But it would only be a discussion. New guy,,, in order to have a debate both parties must come from a realistic position. Unfortunately...although a great idea....your position is unrealistic. The world has changed...the America to which you speak of has never truly existed, or will ever exist. people need to fix things themselves and stop waiting around for a savior. But that takes sacrifice and accountability....join the rest of America in their true pursuit of the next big reality show. All we want to be is entertained..... New guy, your philosophy is terrific, but please join the rest of us at COFFEE SHOP REVOLUTIONARY HEADQUARTERS.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    As we all know, Libertarinism is all about selfishness NOT freedom. There is and never has been a society that worked, much less prospered, under Libertarianism. Like it or not, that's reality. Only fools, or those that have never lived in the real world embrace Libertarinism, there is nothing to debate or argue over, facts is facts!
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    LA: As I've stated many times...we don't have rights....we have privileges that can be taken from you at any time. I live in America 2014 where selfishness and greed prevail. I let our situation act as evidence. You and I can smoke some pot and discuss the way things SHOULD be all day long. But it would only be a discussion. New guy,,, in order to have a debate both parties must come from a realistic position. Unfortunately...although a great idea....your position is unrealistic. The world has changed...the America to which you speak of has never truly existed, or will ever exist. people need to fix things themselves and stop waiting around for a savior. But that takes sacrifice and accountability....join the rest of America in their true pursuit of the next big reality show. All we want to be is entertained..... New guy, your philosophy is terrific, but please join the rest of us at COFFEE SHOP REVOLUTIONARY HEADQUARTERS.

    New Guy: This must be the POT speaking from LA and having difficulty making an intelligent discussion point? A realistic position is only as real as one can prove his/her point in a discussion. Other than realistic it may be undeniably fantasy. It is difficult to prove a point in this forum because so many choose to counter with ridicule, persecution and censorship. Several in this DemocraticHUB, choose to be irritating because someone disagrees with him/her. So, disagreement becomes name-calling and threats, but thanks to the "Moderator's", repulsive reaction is limited and some go away with their accounts frozen. There has to be some policing and so far it has been beneficial to keeping our discussions fair for the most part. Although, showing one's beliefs and politics can get a rise out of those who wish to ruin your day, you with receive aggressive or questionable responses that go against humane reactions.

    The world has changed and is changing faster than technology or mankind can keep up with. I can relate to parents and grand parents that would say weird stuff like why do kids wear their clothes that way, or why do these cars go so fast. I find myself these days saying similar weird stuff about my kids and grandkids. Politics appear to be getting more sinister and business getting more corrupt. The Pay Day loan scandal is so notorious on people with interest rates beyond 1000%. War, famine, disease and people actually blaming each other than working out harmony and fairness around the world. Since technology has shrunk the world within your pocket, notification of world events and communications, we get to feel it as we read it.

    The problem with many today is they are not doing anything for humanity other than complain, blaming the other guy. Since most of these hard core complainers do not have a rich life helping others they complain about those who do good works. Complainers, ridicule people's beliefs, which most people's religious beliefs is the motivation and joy they have spreading hope around the world. Healing the sick, building communities and giving cheer around the world where people do not have anything. To listen to these people complain, it's as if they enjoy hearing of people in the world that live is despair. Must be their fault, they recite often. Complainers enjoy saying, people should be self-sufficient, thus no difficulty in life? Even in America, there are people in need and most people in my circle are more than wiling to give a helping hand.