Shermer and Libertarianism
Posted: 03 November 2011 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A podcast of this title showed up in my RSS.  Is this coming up? Always wanted to know how a skeptic can be a libertarian when there is no evidence or plausible mechanism this could possibly work.

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Posted: 03 November 2011 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There is an evidence that liberalism doesn’t work and it doesn’t stop the majority of skeptics from being liberals.  cheese

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Posted: 03 November 2011 02:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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George - 03 November 2011 01:10 PM

There is an evidence that liberalism doesn’t work and it doesn’t stop the majority of skeptics from being liberals.  cheese

You must be talking about only certain parts of it; the same can be said about conservatism. Ideally, I would be independent, but under the two party system, it makes more sense to pick a side. Democrats win my vote because they are more aligned with science.

A podcast of this title showed up in my RSS.  Is this coming up? Always wanted to know how a skeptic can be a libertarian when there is no evidence or plausible mechanism this could possibly work.

I think there is a mechanism for how libertarianism would work, but as I understand it, in practice it doesn’t. I think it requires an idealized economy with perfect information and perfectly rational actors, which we don’t really have.

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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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Posted: 04 November 2011 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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IMO, only a socialist system can work practically. The effectiveness can be seen everywhere in nature. It provides a natural defense against predators both from inside and outside.
I use socialism in context of greatest survival probability, i.e. common defense, social structure with built in protections for individual rights and freedoms, but also with certain responsibilities to share labor and resources.

Is there such a thing as a social libertarian or a libertarian socialist?

[ Edited: 04 November 2011 01:12 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 04 November 2011 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Somite - 03 November 2011 01:03 PM

A podcast of this title showed up in my RSS.  Is this coming up? Always wanted to know how a skeptic can be a libertarian when there is no evidence or plausible mechanism this could possibly work.

  A skeptical attitude can work with most political concepts.

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Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

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Posted: 04 November 2011 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Is there such a thing as a social libertarian or a libertarian socialist?

When it comes to such things as socio-political economic and religious worldviews, if you can think of it, somebody out there probably identifies him/herself that way.

Mind you, I’m not saying that any such worldviews would be consistant or even logical, or that one could hold to any such combination without a lot of cognitive dissonance. I only observe that they’re there!

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Posted: 04 November 2011 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I think that libertarian skepticism actually damages the secular argument in that it presents secular viewpoints from a framework that does not offer a competing moral ethic to that which has been presented by religious apologists. Hence, critics of secularism point to the Libertarian elements of the movement and say, “See, these people just want to behave selfishly without any kind of morality to which they must adhere.” Moreover, I suspect there is some truth to the accusation that many people who espouse secularism, atheism, or agnosticism without adopting a moral philosophy as well are merely interested in promoting a destructive self-interest. We see this most saliently in Randian Objectivism. And in fact, I would not want to live in a world that disavows any kind of moral system, even if it does embrace the reality of atheism. One can see this kind of phenomenon in a society such as China where the government has all but abolished religion as a social mechanism but has failed to replace it with a competing system by which standards of behavior might be instilled in the general populace. The recent media debacle over the video of the girl who was hit by a car and left in the street to die while others walked by is evidence of this kind of philosophy at work.

This is why I think it is important to promote Humanism because Humanism is a vehicle by which we can embrace reality and still live moral and ethical lives. Furthermore, it seems self-evident to me that liberalism, and most likely socialism, are the political structures that are most congruous with the Humanist worldview.

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Posted: 26 November 2011 07:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Write4U - 04 November 2011 12:25 AM

IMO, only a socialist system can work practically. The effectiveness can be seen everywhere in nature. It provides a natural defense against predators both from inside and outside.
I use socialism in context of greatest survival probability, i.e. common defense, social structure with built in protections for individual rights and freedoms, but also with certain responsibilities to share labor and resources.

Is there such a thing as a social libertarian or a libertarian socialist?

Yep worked great for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. Working super in Cuba too isn’t it?

Human beings are not ants or a pack of Hyenas. We are free, independebt beings each seeking to better themselves. Or at least we should be.

Heinlein - Specialization is for Insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

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Posted: 26 November 2011 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Old Hoplite - 26 November 2011 07:43 AM


Heinlein - Specialization is for Insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Heinlein didn’t do some of the things on that list. Moreover it shows bad economics. The market coordination of many specialized skills makes us all wealthier than if we all had to, say, butcher our own animals.

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"There was a time before reason and science when my ancestors believed in all manner of nonsense." Narim on Stargate SG-1.

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Posted: 26 November 2011 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Old Hoplite - 26 November 2011 07:43 AM
Write4U - 04 November 2011 12:25 AM

IMO, only a socialist system can work practically. The effectiveness can be seen everywhere in nature. It provides a natural defense against predators both from inside and outside.
I use socialism in context of greatest survival probability, i.e. common defense, social structure with built in protections for individual rights and freedoms, but also with certain responsibilities to share labor and resources.

Is there such a thing as a social libertarian or a libertarian socialist?

Yep worked great for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. Working super in Cuba too isn’t it?

Human beings are not ants or a pack of Hyenas. We are free, independebt beings each seeking to better themselves. Or at least we should be.

Heinlein - Specialization is for Insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Where did you read in my post that I argued for forced specialization?

I don’t object to you making those points, but please do not so in response to my analysis of the virtues of common defense, etc. (army ants?), a national infrastructure for commerce and a social structure wth rights and responsibilities, followed by the reasonable question, which specifically asked if there can be a successful form of Social Libertarianism or a Libertarian Socialsim either which would combine maximum personal freedoms with a reasonable minimum sharing of resources.

Apparently no pure system works very well, Capitalism (pure libertarianism) is not doing very well either. It has only been a few years since slavery and we are well back on that path again, under the guise of “right to work” (at slave wages), the very rich stashing billions of dollars in tax free accounts, the rich paying lower income taxes on unearned income (dividends) and the Libertarian goals of removing the EPA, FDA, DOE, DOC (which is constitutionally mandated), all social (not socialist) programs.  btw. Russia and China were Communist, under the guise of socialism.

I used to be a great Ayn Rand fan, until I grew up and realized the inhumanity of Objectivism, which has nothing to do with objectivity.

[ Edited: 26 November 2011 02:29 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 26 November 2011 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Old Hoplite - 26 November 2011 07:43 AM

Human beings are not ants or a pack of Hyenas. We are free, independebt beings each seeking to better themselves. Or at least we should be.

If there is anything we should be it’s happy.

Unless that features in your system it’s not worth a candle.

Stephen

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Posted: 26 November 2011 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Heinlein - Specialization is for Insects

And machines…

Strange that a Sci Fi writer should overlook that…. cheese

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Posted: 09 December 2011 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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domokato - 03 November 2011 02:19 PM

I think there is a mechanism for how libertarianism would work, but as I understand it, in practice it doesn’t. I think it requires an idealized economy with perfect information and perfectly rational actors, which we don’t really have.

I think you mistake libertarianism for some sort of utopian vision. I have not come across any libertarians that would argue that with minimal intrusion everything would be perfect. It inherently relies on competition, which means that businesses can go bankrupt, people can get turned down for jobs and face the consequences of their bad decisions. Most tend to argue on the grounds of the immorality of coercion and the relative efficiency of the free market.
I don’t really know where to start to explain my own views on the subject, but I will say that I think there are many flawed assumptions in your statement. The free market does not need perfect information or perfectly rational actors, but rather it just needs a relatively efficient information channel and incentives to encourage rational behavior. A price is not just an arbitrary number, but a nearly infinite regression of comparisons between substitute resources, alternative uses to resources, scarcity and competitive forces between others offering the same products. The profit and loss system encourages those who make good use of their talents and resources while discouraging those who make poor use of them.
If you want to compare imperfect markets to a hypothetical government solution then the market can never win. But this is not how the real world works, democracy has its own incentives and limits to information. If people are irrational and selfish, then by trying to use democracy to change market outcomes all you are doing is asking irrational and selfish people to choose which irrational and selfish person you want to administer the system.
Politicians are subject to pressures of reelection, often conferring large benefits to small groups at the slight expense of a larger group (the smaller group has the incentive to organize since the benefits are large, but the larger group does not since the harm is small). They regularly pick winners and losers not based on relative efficiency, but based on who has the most connections and who gives the most to whichever party is in power. They focus on short term and visible solutions with unforeseen side-effects. The incentives are very different when you’re spending money collected from taxation and are insulated from the consequences of your decisions.
The market will never be perfect because it’s acted out through imperfect human beings, but the same can be said for government and given the two I will take the one that can’t force me to do what it wants me to.

Write4U - 04 November 2011 12:25 AM

IMO, only a socialist system can work practically. The effectiveness can be seen everywhere in nature. It provides a natural defense against predators both from inside and outside.
I use socialism in context of greatest survival probability, i.e. common defense, social structure with built in protections for individual rights and freedoms, but also with certain responsibilities to share labor and resources.

To me socialism is akin to economic intelligent design. You need an all powerful, omnipotent, benevolent overseer in order to make things work.

Write4U - 04 November 2011 12:25 AM

Is there such a thing as a social libertarian or a libertarian socialist?

It depends on what you mean, but communism is essentially supposed to be anarchic. At least according to Marx. There really isn’t a huge difference between the two systems other than who oversees the process.

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