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galets

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Interesting document I found...
« on: October 25, 2009, 12:46:57 PM »

While bitching with someone on the Internet, I've been pointed out that all my arguments are bogus, and they have all been addressed in details at: http://world.std.com/~mhuben/faq.html, so there's nothing more I could say  :(.

Here's why I'm posting this document here: the guy seems to have spent a bunch of hours debating with liberty people, he could summarized a lot. None of his "rebuttals", obviously, stand a chance, but I thought it could be a good starting point for many beginner libertarians. Get to know your enemy :)
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anarchir

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2009, 01:17:08 PM »

Quote
Our social contract in the USA is one of the nice, voluntary contracts that libertarians should like.

Oh my.
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2009, 05:21:44 PM »

This is terrible. My world-view was shattered by a document written by some guy whose incredible use of red herrings, and rhetorical usage of straw-man arguments cannot be rebutted!
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digitalfour

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2009, 06:58:20 PM »

I'll pay money for someone to wade through and refute his arguments point-by-point.
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BonerJoe

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2009, 06:59:30 PM »

I'll pay money for someone to wade through and refute his arguments point-by-point.

I'll kick in $5.
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2009, 01:08:39 AM »

A verbose idiot is still an idiot.

I'll debunk it when I have the time.

And then hopefully someone much smarter than I will come along, see my pitiful attempt, and fill in the gaps.  :lol:
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galets

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2009, 11:22:04 PM »

I was wondering if an exercise will make sense to split it by-chapter into a new forum and vote-up best rebuttal
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 01:12:00 AM »

Quote
WHAT IS LIBERTARIANISM?

The word "libertarian" by itself simply means someone or something relating to the broad concept of "liberty".  No other shade of meaning is inherently implied by that word.

In specific contexts, however, the word "libertarian" begins to attain a practical and tangible meaning.  There are branches within specific fields of jurisprudence, metaphysics, parenting techniques, search algorithms, athletic competition rules, etc that are identified as "libertarian".  There isn't a single political movement that defines itself as "libertarian", with that term at various times being applied to a diverse spectrum of political ideas, from collectivist movements that reject property rights (ex. Joseph Déjacque) to individualist movements that consider individual property rights to be of paramount importance (ex. Ayn Rand).  One should therefore avoid using the word "libertarian" by itself without a clarification.

Regardless of the definition intended by the author of the "Critiques of Libertarianism", this rebuttal is presented from my own point of view, which does fit into the broad spectrum of the modern "libertarian" movement within the United States, but does not represent it completely.  That point of view can be described as a gradualist approach to Rothbardian Anarcho-Capitalism that holds a utilitarian (non-axiomatic) justification for the Non-Aggression Principle and other aspects of Natural Law.


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Libertarians are a small group whose beliefs are unknown to and not accepted by the vast majority.

Whether we are a "small group" or not would depend on what level of preference for "liberty" would qualify one to be a "libertarian".  To say that libertarian ideas are "not accepted by the vast majority" would require you to limit our ideas to just the most unpopular ones - a straw-man argument.  Few libertarian ideas for the foreseeable future (ex. next 10-20 years) are rejected by the vast majority of the population - most Republicans would love to shrink government to below 10% of GDP, and most Democrats would love to legalize most or all victimless crimes.  What libertarians propose is a compromise between the various points of view: "we'll let you have your freedom if you'll let us have ours".

Relativistically speaking, USA is already one of the most libertarian nations in the world in terms of business / economic freedom, civil liberties, free press, right to self-defense, and other indicators.  You could say that libertarians are to USA what USA is to the rest of the world!


Quote
They are utopian because there has never yet been a libertarian society (though one or two have come close to some libertarian ideas.)

There is a huge difference between having an idealistic long-term vision and being "Utopian".  My philosophy does hold the complete absence of government coercion as its ideal, but I do not expect it to happen overnight, and I do recognize that most people would still voluntarily choose to associate with something that resembles a government.  I am not out to "destroy all governments", merely to make it possible to escape them.

Minarchist ideas can be pursued gradually, with different local jurisdictions experimenting with alternative methods of reducing the size and power of coercive government.  My belief (which is based on substantial historical and econometric evidence) is that freer societies will over time experience competitive advantage over less free ones, including the benefits from tax competition and the "brain drain" effect, until the less free societies will simply run out of competent people to tax.  That isn't to say that I see ever-greater libertarianism as a historical inevitability, because it is possible for market forces to be "defeated" through government violence, like restrictions on immigration, or a world government that would put a limit on tax competition between local jurisdictions.


Quote
Why should I accept that "right" as a given?

The concept of "Natural Rights" is intended to be based on empirical observation of human behavior (i.e. econometrics) under the single axiom that the societal ruleset that produces the greatest materialistic competitive advantage is the one most desirable.  (I call this epistemological theory "evolutionary pragmatism", though other schools of libertarian thought have other empirical formulations of Natural Rights, most notably Ayn Rand's Objectivism.)  For example, a society that fails to recognize the (negative) right to life is very unlikely to evolve beyond the hunter-gatherer level of economic development, while a society that punishes murder is likely to do much better.  Similarly, a society that falsely attributes non-existing rights would experience a competitive disadvantage - Buddhist sects that believe killing an earthworm is unacceptable aren't known for agricultural efficiency.  Of course the accuracy and scope of history are not perfect, but it is possible to use reasoning, economic modeling, and other tools to "bootstrap" a rational and objective legal foundation.


Quote
Is that a fact around the world, not just in the US?

Natural Rights are not limited to one country, one planet, or even one species of "rational economic actors", for as long as the fundamental facts of human nature remain in effect.  If the entire human civilization were to some day evolve into a single being consisting of pure energy, then individual rights would no longer apply, but they do in the meantime.


Quote
Are there counter examples for that idea?

Contradictions don't exist, as Ayn Rand would say, and when one encounters what seems to be a contradiction one is required to re-check his premises.  A rational social philosophy must remain true in all situations, including emergencies [2], which is why I do not accept the Non-Aggression Principle as an axiom in of itself.  One example of this that I have written about recently the free rider problem of reproduction and the alleged need [2] for social pressure to encourage natalism.


Quote
Are libertarians serving their own class interest only?

There are many libertarians who have experienced financial losses, poverty, ostracism, imprisonment, and even death in the pursuit of what we believe to be right.


Quote
1.   The original intent of the founders has been perverted
2.   The US Government ignores the plain meaning of the constitution.  
3.   The Declaration Of Independence says...  

While very good arguments can be made demonstrating this, it is ultimately a moot point.  My philosophy would be still be relevant even if the so-called "founding fathers" of the United States had never existed, and if the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and even the Magna Carta had never been written.  Natural Rights, like the laws of mathematics, exist whether there is a piece of paper to enumerate them or not!


(To be continued.  Please don't let my humble efforts to debunk this keep you from initiating your own.)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 08:49:10 AM by Alex Libman »
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gibson042

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2009, 12:17:11 PM »

His nonfallacious points rest upon the unproven assertion that all property in "the nation" is owned by people doing business as government (#15: "government owns rights to govern its territory"; #18: "you hold the deed to... Property as recognized by a government").  And if that assertion is true, then his rebuttals are pretty much right.  But he knows full well that layer upon layer of rhetoric obscures it, and few people—even (or is that especially) among politicians—would ever openly deny the concept of private property.  Also, there's a mythical-sized elephant in the room: how did the property come to be owned by governments in the first place?

Oh, I know: they stole it fair and square.
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thersites

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2009, 11:12:58 PM »

"Haven't you read "Libertarianism in One Lesson"?

Every belief system has its evangelistic writings, designed to help convince or draw in new members. The Campus Crusade for Christ uses "Evidence That Demands A Verdict", Scientology uses "Dianetics", and libertarians use "Libertarianism in One Lesson".

All of these books are very convincing-- in the absence of counterargument. However, they are easily rebutted by skeptics because they MUST omit the exceptions to their point of view to be convincing.

If I may cite a convert: "Libertarians like me believe in a simple morality-- everyone should be free to do what they like, so long as they don't initiate use of force... If you're not familiar with this morality, I urge you to read "Libertarianism in One Lesson", by David Bergland. I was personally shocked to find that things could be so neatly axiomatized, and what's even more remarkable is that in the empirical world, societies seem to me to be punished in an eye for an eye fashion from their deviation from this simple morality. We are deviating quite a bit and suffering accordingly... in my view this is why economic growth is stagnating, the inner cities are dying..."

Any time I read how simple it is to understand the world through system X, I know I'm dealing with a convert from evangelistic writings. They blithely assert that their explanations show the true cause of current problems. And the key to showing them to be wrong, is to show that there's more complexity to the world than is encompassed by their simplistic explanations. "

There is actually a grain of truth in this-the non-aggression axiom is a direct confrontation with the understood(Max Weber's) definition of the State as an entity with a monopoly on the use of violence. This defines the NAP, if applied to all individuals as being anarchism, not surprising since the original term "libertarian" meant just that. Alot of Right-Libertarian "leaders"(including Bergland if I remember right) are pretty slippery on this-not cool in my book, either they are unaware of the implications of what they are saying, or they are lying...I'm not sure what's worse.  That said, there is nothing simple about the axiom of non-aggression, other than its statement.

Of course this guy believes in ghosts, since he seems to think that the government/state exists outside of the individuals who make it up-no dice there. I also wonder if he has any inkling that that "Social Contract" that he loves so much, was thought up by Hobbes to damn forever Regicide after the beheading of King Charles in the English Civil War. It's literally the "Devine Right of Kings" made secular....and every bit as legitimate. Either he's not well read on what he defends, or he assumes boobus americanus will not be well read....probably a good bet, come to think of it. 

This has been out there for a while, I'm pretty sure I've seen it before.
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Plyte

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2009, 02:46:46 PM »

Quote
Some libertarians make a big deal about needing to actually sign a contract. Take them to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk out without paying because they didn't sign anything. Even if it is a restaurant with a minimum charge and they haven't ordered anything. The restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that? Create a regulation?
This doesn't even make sense.  This guy doesn't see the difference between entering a restaurant (by choice) and being born on a certain spot on the world.

All this guy's arguements stem from a different base, and hes not argueing the base, hes argueing what is built on it.

And notice the further down he gets the more often he uses the "argument of intimidiation".
« Last Edit: November 03, 2009, 02:53:38 PM by Plyte »
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jonsk

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 07:55:46 AM »

That parent undergo a contract for the child just because they have to live somewhere does not make sense.

Also that one is free to leave is also not true. As an American you are obliged to pay tax wherever you try to settle down all over the world. I my selves are a Norwegian citizen and at least I can live without paying any tax if I stay/work in a tax free country.

I think it is amazing that a "paper" with so many contributors may fail on such essential issues.
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BobRobertson

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Re: Interesting document I found...
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2009, 04:06:34 PM »

Oh NO! Not Huben. Not again.

This guy was a plague on talk.politics.libertarian in the early 1990's, while he was compiling his FAQ. I am certain that Google has him in their archive if you want to look it up.

Logic doesn't phase him, direct refutation doesn't budge his opinion.

I wrote to him about a week ago, having done a Google search just to see if he still existed, saluting him for his tenacity. He asked if I'd learned anything in 15 years, and I said I had, that I'd realized constitutionalism is a waste of time and moved on to complete anarchy.

For some reason, I don't think that was the answer he was expecting.
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