Monday, June 23, 2008

Talking With Libertarians

For some reason I've been trying to correct some misconceptions about the Liberals' "Green Shift" over at Saskatchewan Liberty Train. I've tried to remain calm and rational and use facts and logic to make my case, but at this point I'm about ready to claw my own eyes out and run screaming from the room.

For example, one person was claiming that $6 billion of the $15 billion was going to fund "Liberal social programs" - including some mythical "child care initiative". To which I responded,
"I'm looking at page 41 right now, and what I see is $2.9 million [should be 'billion'] for the Universal Child Tax Benefit. Is that what you're referring to? Because that has nothing to do with child care. That's a refundable tax credit for ALL families with children that is in addition to (and almost identical to) the one brought in by the Conservatives. Similarly, the refundable Employment Tax Credit would replace the smaller, non-refundable credit introduced by... the Conservatives."

To which I received this response:

Oh goody - more social engineering - more wasteful social programs...this is EXACTLY the type of thing we don't need.




  1. I'm there with you.

    True libertarianism is about having THE PORTION YOU ARE DUE. The brand of libertarians you are dealing with are interested in whatever they can steal.

    Don't expect them to debate rationally. That's not what they are trying to do. These guys have the mindset of robber barons and con artists. Caveat emptor applies.

    I'm not in the green party any more, but quite a few greens are libertarians who woke up. They figured out that social and environmental debts and deficits damage liberty as much as fiscal ones.

  2. Runesmith, online libertarians are by and large completely out of touch with both the world around them, what life is like when mommy and daddy aren't paying the bills.

    (Or for ANYBODY born without a silver spoon in their mouth.)

    I wouldn't give them a second thought. A little pity, perhaps, but nothing more.

  3. "quite a few greens are libertarians who woke up. They figured out that social and environmental debts and deficits damage liberty as much as fiscal ones."

    Indeed. Which is what makes the Small Dead Animals gang all the more sad, is that they claim to be for liberty, while preaching lies about social and environmental situations as if they don't exist or affect anyone important.

  4. I can't believe how rude they are over there, and how close they are to debate and logic.

    And Saskboy... I appreciated your feistiness, too!

  5. I think what upsets me the most about both the Libertarian and Conservative camps is the naked greed and self interest. I was brought up in a pretty conservative household, but even then there was the sense that one's country was like a family. What's good for one part of it is good for all, and if some are suffering or doing without then it went without saying that the rest of us would lend a hand.

    All this regional infighting and people judging the merits of this plan on the basis of "what's in it for me?" just makes me terribly sad.

  6. You've hit that nail on the head, Jennifer... The comments and the opinions expressed on that site have left me feeling sad, and discouraged. After all, the fight against climate change is an attempt to keep our kids and grandkids from having to live in a cruel world with billions more in poverty, and skirmishes over scare resources commonplace.

    Perhaps I should have bailed after one commenter said something like why should he care if 100,000,000 people in Bangladesh needed water wings...

  7. Aaaand... one of them just called me "sweetheart".

    Right. That's it. I'm outta there, before I end up doing something I'd regret. Like pulling someone's nutsack over their ears and force feeding their tiny shrivelled testicles to them one at a time.

  8. "Perhaps I should have bailed after one commenter said something like why should he care if 100,000,000 people in Bangladesh needed water wings..."

    Well, at least he's honest.

    A lot of these 'libertarians' aren't. They actually espouse many anarchistic beliefs.

    For example, a typical libertarian would blow your head off for dumping garbage on their land (trespassing and vandalism). So why should they accept a coal plant upwind dumping mercury on their land? Or human-induced climate change altering their land?

    Since their much-loved political and social philosophy can't deal with these realities (that is, they fail to account for externalities), they go into a state of denial. To admit that these externalities must be dealt with is to admit that their simplistic philosophy is wrong.

    Those libertarians who recognize the problem, but still don't want to adjust their behaviour, are actually moving away from libertarianism into the open arms of anarchy.

    "Liberty train" -- HA!

    Do you really think that anarchists could build a working railroad?

  9. Uhm,

    Ok, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news but John Murney, as interesting as he is, is not a libertarian. Niether is anyone at SDA.

    A libertarian simply beleives in self-ownership and that no-one has the right to initate force against another person (or delegate that initiation of force).

    From that comes the idea that society should be voluntary, not coercive.

    The "Robber Barons" of yore got their power from the state, and used the powers of the state to their benefit. This theme contiues today (have a look at Dean Baker's "Conservative Nanny State" for exampls of it in action).

    Any so-called libertarian that htinks using the power of the state to favour corporations over individuals, is no libertarian. They are what we would call "vulgar libertarians" - they use the words of liberty by have no interest in it.

    And anarchist merely means "without rulers" - an entirely voluntary society (not, as I expect most here think, "Mad Max").

    Pop over to my blog and follow some of the links on the side and see what real libertarians think, especially those of us that are "left-libertarians" and market anarchists.

    Don't confuse social conservative, corproatists with libertarians, because they are not.

  10. I tried to leave this at Scott's place, but for some reason his comments aren't working right now.

    Honestly, I didn't mean to make any blanket criticism of libertarianism. Hey, some of my best friends are libertarians! :)

    But John Murney, rightly or wrongly, has chosen to identify himself and his blog as (among other things) libertarian, and he was being obnoxiously obtuse. As were some of the other commenters, some of whom also seem to think of themselves as libertarians.

    Sadly, I think Mike is right. The term 'libertarian' seems to have become a catch-all term to describe small government fiscal conservatives who reject social conservatism.

    In any case, I'm more of a social democrat so I'll always disagree with the true libertarians on a lot of issues anyway. But I don't hate you. Really. Not like those CPC bastards.