The Rand Paul Conundrum

Question in e-mail:

Any thoughts on Rand Paul?

Yeah: I suspect Rand Paul will have to decide whether he wants to be libertarian, or if he wants to be elected.

I think we’ve already gotten a bit of that answer already, with his hasty sprintback (or as I think he would prefer to have it seen, clarification) on the matter of the Civil Rights Act of ’64, which he wants us to know we should have totally voted for had he been in Congress at the time, rather than busily pooping himself as a baby. He’s still philosophically iffy about whether the law should really have applied to private business, etc. as a matter of free speech, but he wouldn’t have let that stop him, as regards theoretically voting for the bill. He’s also complaining about how the left (specifically, Rachel Maddow) are using this to sandbag him, although the complaints do have the tone of “how dare they examine the final analysis implications of my philosophical positions!” Yes, well. That will happen from time to time.

But, you know what: If these are Rand Paul’s positions, then he gets to live with them and as extra added fun he gets to live with his political opponents using them as if those positions were pinatas, and they were kids with bats, trying to get at the sweet, sweet electoral candy inside. Welcome to the big leagues, Rand; you have fun now. It also highlights the fundamental difficulties that libertarianism (in either the little “l” or big “L” variant) has in that place called reality, among which is that however theoretically attractive it would be to live in a libertarian world where everyone was cool with everyone else and the government was tiny and far away, in reality everyone isn’t cool with everyone else and (for example) there are still people who really would kind of prefer not to have those funny-colored people in their shop, or diner, or whatever, and on balance it wasn’t a horrible thing for the government to step in and say that’s not what we do.

So, we’ll see. I think it’s possible some places in the US to be more or less libertarian and still get elected — Paul’s father does it with the 14th Congressional district in Texas, for example. But Paul’s running for senator of an entire state, not just for representative of part of it, and that makes a big difference. I suspect the Democrats are going to have fun with him as a tea party proxy; unlike Sarah Palin, who at the moment at least understands she’s better off in the entertainment wing of the GOP than the “attempting to get elected” wing, Paul is trying to get elected and so his positions have real world implications.

So I suspect that what we’ll end up seeing is Paul walking himself back from a few other libertarian positions over the course of the electoral season in order to make himself palatable to that fabled political middle. This is not a particularly courageous prediction on my part mind you — walking toward the middle is what most politicians do during the general election, and so Rand Paul will not be notable in his attempt to do so. But I’ll tell you what; it would be more interesting for everyone involved if he didn’t.

228 thoughts on “The Rand Paul Conundrum

  1. I cannot help but nit pick:

    ” But Paul’s running for senator of entire state, not just for representative of part of it, and that makes a big difference. ”

    I think “an” entire state. Sorry, I have lost most abilities to respond substantially and exist on a neurological level as a typo finder.

  2. Libertarians and communists share the same delusion, which is that every single person can be trusted to care about the good of the community. Adam Smith debunked this long before Karl Marx or Ayn Rand came along with their straw-man utopias.

  3. My sister, a liberal Democrat, used to live in Ron Paul’s district. They love him there, not because he’s a libertarian, but because he brings home those government ear marks.

    I mean really, a distict in Texas that votes for someone who opposed the Iraq and Afganistan wars? I don’t think it’s his politics they love.

    I think Libertarians are the most idealistic people in the world. They really do believe that left to their own devices people will do the right thing. Look at Alan Greenspan and his shock that large corporations didn’t act in their investors’ best interests.

  4. What gets me annoyed at him isn’t that he is a libertarian, but that he keps on repeating the insanley stupid GOP talking point that the democrats today are the same, politically speaking, as the democratic party back before Nixon’s southern strategy took the bulk of anti segregation democrats over to the republican party.

    This treats his audience as either comlicit liars or complete morons with no knowlege of history. And he has to know that African American political organizations consider his pokes and jabs at the democrats to be BS. You can’t even get Michael Steele to agree with his nonsense. That’s how lame his claims are.

    It has me thinking that because he isn’t an idiot, his message is not intended to defuse concerns among minority voters, it’s there to help people who have no sense of history but might be swayed if they thought he was an out and out racist. For the record, I don’t think his racism has to do with an opposition to civil rights. I think his racism is to be found in treating minority voters as either idiots or not worth his time.

  5. Sam:

    Fixed, thanks.

    Alex von Thorn:

    It’s interesting to me that you make a connection between Libertarianism and Communism, because in my mind I think of them both as wishful philosophies, i.e., they’ll both work great, as long as human behavior fundamentally changes to suit them somewhere along the line.

  6. “It’s interesting to me that you make a connection between Libertarianism and Communism, because in my mind I think of them both as wishful philosophies.”

    They also both assume that governments and corporate/monied entities are utterly different things. (They are different in some important ways, of course, but not nearly to the extent that both philosophies assume.)

    In both cases, they’re organizations of people that can wield a lot of power, and which have channels of accountability that can’t be assumed to work automatically.

    One type of organization may often need to yield to the other, but the yielding shouldn’t always go the same way. Neither can be trusted to operate in people’s best interests, without engaged people who can watch what they’re doing and push back when they overreach.

  7. This is…interesting, and unpleasant. Like Arizona’s immigrant law, it brings to the forefront some of the uglier bits that undergird the staying power of the current GOP coalition, which puts back on the table two things that can drive minority turn out in places where the GOP needs it least.

    Like The AZ Immigration law, this issue is one where internal state politics leap to the national stage and can cause unpleasant spill over. Having the National GOP rush to hug the Civil Rights Act is an event that calls for Benny Hill’s “Yakkity Sax” for both pratfall and hypocrisy.

    I’d be unsurprised if he had to walk back other libertarian claims over the course of the campaign, and to some degree, his success or failure depends on which at which time. He’s already gotten caught for the ’64 Civil Rights Act and the ’91 Civil Rights Act (ADA). Both of which on live TV, offering the opportunity for commercials. Turning against, say, minimum wage or OSHA or Social Security would be several times worse.

    At least he has BP, Financial Regulation, and Massey Energy to fight for oxygen with him as “this week’s villain.” But I’ve got the sense that he’s hungry enough to go back and get the other foot in his mouth, if he hasn’t just yet.

  8. Any sufficiently elegant idea will work without interference or implementation by actual humans.

    Oh dear. I seem to have just summarized pretty much all genre fiction, when I was aiming for politics.

    Shall I just throw myself out, then?

    *defenestrates*

  9. The Tea Party Movement, if that’s what it really is, is kind of interesting. I have fairly mixed feelings about long-serving politicians, just as I have fairly mixed feelings about term limits. Although it always feels satisfying to “throw the bums out” as it were, I’m also aware that congress is a fairly complicated place with a strong and well-embedded pecking order, and freshmen senators and representatives are so far down on that pecking order they’re lucky if they get chairs in the room the committees meet in, let alone get to open their mouth, present legislation, or chair a committee. And in the first year or so most new pols are so busy trying to just figure out how to get the phones to work that they’re practically useless in terms of getting things for their states. Although I’m philosophically opposed to The Tea Party Movement, I think they may also shoot themselves in the foot by electing so many people into office who have no clout. But then again, that’s politics.

  10. John – Although I agree with the intent of your post, there are actually some constitutional implications of the Civil Rights Act because Congress used the Commerce Clause of the Constitution rather than the Equal Protection amendments to enact the law.

    It says a lot about Congress in the sixties that it wanted to eliminate racial prejudice on commercial grounds, rather than on the grounds that prejudice is just plain wrong. In effect Congress felt it could not come right out and say “Enough of this equal/unequal nonsense; people of colour are no different than anyone else and as an advanced nation we will not tolerate anyone making decisions based solely on the colour of a person’s skin or other invidious and prejudicial bases.”

    Instead, the Civil Right Act gets its power from Congress’s ability to control all interstate commerce. In effect, Congress was saying “We do not make any statement about whether blacks are equal to whites. We just feel that prejudice against blacks hurts interstate commerce.”

    Of course without further input from the man himself, who knows if Rand Paul intended to evoke this (fairly subtle) point. Except for legal scholars it is possible that no one really even cares about how the Act was passed.

  11. You know what’s scarier? In blood red Kentucky, he may get elected on the platform he has.

    But man, he’s opened the door now and he may get hammered and lose the GOP a seat they should hold.

  12. Gah. When I read up on his “talking points” about who he was and what he believed, I kept thinking to myself that he’s a libertarian, not a Republican. He keeps talking Tea Party. I really don’t think he’ll be elected in Kentucky. It just will not happen. Even Mitch McConnell will work against him (behind the scenes of course).

    Being from Kentucky originally, it pains me to see this happening in my home state.

    I can’t believe that he actually said that private businesses shouldn’t have to accommodate disabled people. Isn’t that what he said?

  13. With brain research going at the pace it is we probably WILL be able to change human behavior to suit us, and won’t THAT be interesting. I’ll probably dead or near dead before it happens, but I can’t see how it won’t be possible.

  14. I suspect that sooner or later, the American public may come to the realization that hardcore libertarians are, essentially, the Scientologists of politics.

    Or, as John Rogers (LEVERAGE, Blue Beetle, etc.) once put it:

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life:The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.

    One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes,
    leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.

    The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  15. I had, for a brief shining moment, hope that Paul would actually run on his actual convictions (as controversial and naive as they might be). I’m not saying I back him, but seeing a guy like that standing behind what he really, truly feels was refreshing as all hell. A lot of people believe what he believes, but most of them are too afraid to say it in public (as opposed to an Objectivist Double Secret Lodge meeting, or wherever it is that those people lurk).

    It was sad to see him backpedal the way he did.

  16. I used to have relatively hard-core libertarian beliefs. I realized that the downside of Libertarianism is NOT what you guys keep saying – that it assumes that people will behave a certain way. Libertarianism allows for people to perform poorly, but instead of offering a safety net, Libertarianism just says “screw ‘em”. Get injured and can’t work? Too bad, shouldn’t have let yourself get hurt. Unable to get a job because your racial group suffers from prejudice? Too bad, you just need to get your racial group to work twice as hard to overcome your obstacles on your own. Bands of Celtic barbarians pillaging your coastal cities but your underfunded coast guard can’t repel them? Too bad, you need to buy yourself some muskets and fend them off yourself. So it isn’t that Libertarians assume people will perform well, it is just that they don’t care if they don’t. Starving poor people isn’t a bug, its a feature. It took me a long time to figure that out. If you want to be a Libertarian, you have to have a pretty cold heart, and once you actually experience life outside protected suburbia and see first-hand some of the bad things that can happen to good people, you start wanting to have a government around to help out.

    But I haven’t totally given up on Libertarianism. I still really like the Federalist approach to the moral issues that we’ve been unable to settle through national debate. By that I mean abortion, the death penalty, legalized marijuana, legalized prostitution, gay marriage, etc. Their approach is for the national government to back off, and let the states each handle them in their own way. Then, in the long run, we should be able to see which states are having more success, and more and more of the states emulate them. Eventually, we get to a critical mass where either all the states join in, or the majority can add a Constitutional Amendment to force the last few holdouts to get with the program.

    I think that is the kind of approach we are taking with gay marriage right now, and I think in the long run it will work out. It is a strong option because it gets the buy-in of the majority of the American people, and they won’t object to it being stuffed down their throat the way a Supreme Court resolution to a moral issue does (see Roe v Wade). The downside is that it takes along time, and their will be some battles lost along the way (see Cal prop 8), and people can get impatient. But it is a uniquely American way of handling issues, state by state, and my Libertarian self loves it.

  17. Rand Paul is actually a pretty lousy libertarian: he’s anti-abortion, pro-drug war, and pro-getting his fair share of socialist government payments to his doctoring business.

  18. You know, John, I think your snarkiness only really fully shows its complete, unclouded magnificence when you talk about politics. Which, I hasten to add, is perfectly understandable. Not to mention delightful.

    There are few fields where there’s such a distinction between what the noble ideals are and what the reality is. (Another example being politics’ ugly step-sister, journalism.)

    As a democracy — well, sorta kinda — politics is the very heart of the definition of the United States. It is supposed to be, as Lincoln famously declared, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. Participation in the governing process can be the ultimate form of expression of one’s true citizenship, arguably even more so than military service.

    And yet … the way it plays out in reality is so easy to laugh at. Humans are funny, and there’s nothing quite so hilarious as humans dealing with other humans.

  19. So if you change the subject of this XKCD to “economics” or “discrimination” instead of sex, Rand Paul is the idealistic stick figure guy?

    Michael @10: we know he didn’t mean that, because anyone sufficiently versed with Commerce Clause jurisprudence to say “I love civil rights laws, but Congress used a shaky legal ground for the foundation and I’d rather see a solid CRA rather than one that uses the hand-waviness of the Commerce Clause for support”. Because he said no such thing, we can assume he meant no such thing. Particularly as the Occam’s Razor approach showed us that the collision resulted from the Libertarian view that government oughtn’t tell businesses who they can and can’t serve; karma, aka the Invisible Hand of the Market, can and will see that racists are financially punished for their choices.

  20. Matthew @16 – the problem with that Federalist approach, though, is that its just as cold-hearted:

    “State they live in oppressive to a particular moral view, yet they’re too poor to move to a more positive State? Screw ‘em. They should’ve thought of that before.”

  21. *Applause*
    Great Post.

    My own thoughts on Rand Paul were that it was really funny that his name is Rand Paul. That’s a little like being “Baggins Kennedy”.

    My other thoughts were “maybe he’s not so bad”. Then I went to his website and read his policy positions.

    Gun Rights – fine, next.
    Term Limits – maybe, not a deal breaker
    Laissez Faire Capitalism – You’re losing me
    Withdrawl from the UN, World Bank, and IMF – lost me

  22. As with nearly all dogmatic political philosophies, once human nature is added as the variable, the theory goes to shit. Humans as a whole are inherently “bad” in that we all tend to act in our own self-interest. It the truly altruistic acts that we manage from time to time that redeem us. It would be nice for someone like Paul with his extreme personal freedom viewpoints to stand firm and not waffle, giving the voters a true choice of the moderate vs. the extreme. Aside from the inability of both sides to reach compromise on most every issue, what saddens me most about the current state of American politics,is the malleability of political philosophy during an election cycle in an attempt to find the magic “victory formula”. Disgraceful.
    Excellent topic again Mr. Scalzi.

  23. Agree on the cold-hearted feature-not-a-bug thing.

    But the funny part is that most of these sad sacks don’t realize that if we really did have a social Darwinist free-for-all, those self-absorbed asshats with few social skills would be among the first to go.

    People who really do have the talent, brains and skill to be top of the heap under such a system are busy actually exercising those things, not continually bitching about how they’re being discriminated against because they’re not allowed to piss on people who are already disadvantaged.

  24. I’m still not sure what to make of this guy. For some reason, I keep trying to avoid calling him a bad person based on his ideology, but I think there’s mounting evidence that he’s a bad politician.

    The real issue now is that whatever you think of Libertarianism, the salesmanship Ron Paul did to draw people to it in 2008 is in being systematically undone by his son in 2010.

    http://bit.ly/cggiew

  25. Matthew @16: your Libertarian self seems to really hate the idea of the Constitution. Are you really arguing that if a state’s laws violate the United States Constitution, the proper approach is to “back off”, ask the state pretty please to do the right thing, and then change the Constitution? Oh, wait – they weren’t following the Constitution in the first place. Well, shoot, we don’t want the judicial branch to get involved here, what with that whole bogus Marbury v. Madison thing going on.

    As for same-sex marriage, the approach “we” are taking is for a lot of bigots to throw a hissy whenever it’s pointed out that their state’s laws are based in nothing more than “but we’ve always done it this way”. I’m not sure why your libertarian self is loving that.

  26. Communists believe abolishing private property will solve all our problems. Libertarians believe only private property will solve all our problems.

    That’s the only substantial difference between the two. Beyond that, they both envision a world free of any sort of government of consequence or corporate overlords.

    Nice idea. Doesn’t work. Ever.

    There is no room for utopia.

    Not even if you’re a Todd Rundgren fan.

    Especially if you’re a Todd Rundgren fan.

    (Seriously. “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now”? WTF?)

  27. In the abstract, part of Paul’s statement is accurate; ie the First Amendment allows people to engage in boorish behavior as part of their free speech rights. But the First Amendment doesn’t give you the right to deny others economic liberty simply because of their gender or skin color. The ACLU has defended in court Neo-Nazi’s etc to allow them to protest and act like idiots. From my point of view, part of the problem with libertarianism is the belief that societal pressure does a better job than government interference to change abhorrent behavior. But, sometimes government policy making causes more problems than the problem they were brought in to correct. There are some things that I think conservatives don’t like that sprung out of the Civil Rights Act. One of the policy rules that are around today as a result of the Civil Rights Act is the adverse impact rule. Simply put, it means the EEOC can rule that a business is guilty of unintentional discrimination if they dont hire enough people of certain gender or color. The manufacturing business I worked for in college had an up close and personal impact with that rule. Long story short, the business, which is located about an hour north of Milwaukee, put out an advertisement for a junior engineer position. The job advertisement stated that you had to have a engineering degree with at least 2 years of design manufacturing process experience. We had a worker on the floor, where I worked, who applied for the position even though he had a AA in business management and 5 years working on the manufacturing floor like myself. The company interviewed him, but didnt give him the job. He complained to the EEOC and after an investigation, the EEOC ruled that the company had unintentionally discriminated against him because they did not have enough people of color working in higher level positions, never mind the fact that the person they did hire was a woman and had the necessary experience for the position. The company, in order to settle the EEOC suit, had to create to junior engineering assistant positions, one of which went to the complaintant in order to “remedy the discrimination” and pay a fine. The company did not do anything wrong, they used the exact same criteria to measure the qualifications of every applicant, yet because they didn’t have enough people of color working in senior level jobs; the company had a large number of black people working on line foreman and other manufacturing jobs and they were damm good at their jobs, but the company got punished for applying the same criteria to job applicants regardless of their skin color. Does that sound logical? Yet this is the way government continues to operate, by creating illogical rule making that harms real businesses who are not intentionally discriminating by gender, sex, color or orientation.

  28. Christopher @27: so if they’re unintentionally discriminating that’s cool? I get that you think the EEOC made a bad decision in the case of your former employer, but even assuming everything you say about the innocence of the company is 100% true, at best you’re arguing that the EEOC applied a rule foolishly. Not sure what that has to do with the validity of the CRA, especially since that’s not what Paul was arguing.

  29. The biggest edge that Rand Paul has is that it is a republican year. The economy is really bad and has been and the republicans can go “not our fault” since the democrats control everything (we all know the democrats would do the same thing if the situation was reversed).

    He can get away with being alot more right in a year like this than he could in another year. I do not know anything about his opponent. I have trouble seeing a Obama style liberal winning in Kentucky in a year like this.

    As far as the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It is redundant legislation and pretty pathetic that it was necessary. The Republicans passed a constitutional ammendment right after the civil war that says basically what the 1964 Civil Rights act said. Then people went “isn’t that nice” and ignored it. Came up with the stupid “seperate but equal” garbage to pretend like it was constituational.

    Then 100 years later Congress said, ok now we really mean, so lets pass this all over again.

    Strict constructionist judges should have thrown out seperate but equal in the 19th century. It was clearly unconstitutional. I don’t mean unconstitutional in a left wing “right to privace since we think abortion is ok way”. The constitution was ammended to bar discrimination and it was ignored.

    I also want to note that it was mainly southern democrats (and not republicans) who were the ones opposed to this legislation and note that it was a republican (Eisenhower) who sent in troops to enforce Brown v. Board of Education.

  30. So funny colored people aren’t welcomed here in Whatever, John? Also Christopher I like your comment, it gives a good portrayal of how how the well meaning, can have unintended consequences, especially when it comes to government.

  31. It says a lot about Congress in the sixties that it wanted to eliminate racial prejudice on commercial grounds, rather than on the grounds that prejudice is just plain wrong. In effect Congress felt it could not come right out and say “Enough of this equal/unequal nonsense; people of colour are no different than anyone else and as an advanced nation we will not tolerate anyone making decisions based solely on the colour of a person’s skin or other invidious and prejudicial bases.”

    I suspect Congress did it this way because the Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 on the grounds that the Fourteenth Amendment didn’t actually give the Federal Government the authority to regulate discrimination by private individuals.

  32. My politics are really quite libertarian, but a lot of the hardest core big-L Libertarians, however, seem to have this need to argue that *not only* would Libertarianism alleviate all of society’s troubles today and we could all live in an L. Neil Smith novel with genetically modified Gorillas and airships and seven course meals for $0.19 in just a few short years, but Libertarianism would have *obviously* done so with all of the troubles of the past as well (e.g., civil rights, slavery, Japanese adventurism in China, colonialism, bubonic plague). I take Paul’s position on the Civil Rights Act as a manifestation of this sort of need to have the entire history of the universe fit neatly into his world view.

  33. What is even more interesting than the political walkback Rand Paul is doing per his racist and anti-disabled views is how he is using Libertarian concepts to smoke and mirror the racist attitudes that he was taught as a child. Look at the views that Ron Paul was advocating while Rand was growing up. The question is, I assume, whether he realizes what he is doing or not.

  34. Rand Paul is apparently LESS libertarian than his father. I’m not sure whether people have brought this up yet, but Rand doesn’t have a problem with Medicare reimbursing doctors.
    His positions against abortion and gay marriage also trouble many people who would say they themselves are definitely libertarian (me, for instance).
    Rand might have brought up the civil disobedience of sit-ins at lunch counters which started before 1960 and hastened the passage of the CRA. But he didn’t.

  35. @29,
    Or it split the social conservatives and liberals away from their established parties. The parties then slowly reformed, with the Dems trending towards the middle and the Repubs slowly becoming more and more conservative. Eventually we reach the point where progressives fall all over themselves to elect a centrist Democrat, and conservatives shift so far right that they associate losing an election to being conquered by a foreign power.

    But this is all Overton Window stuff. Nothing changed the american political landscape like the Civil Rights Act, which is probably why Libertarians get drawn to it even when there are so many other issues with broader appeal. Its like a bugzapper for radical ideology.

  36. Guess@29: “I also want to note that it was mainly southern democrats (and not republicans) who were the ones opposed to this legislation”

    Ah yes, that old canard. All well and good — except that it ignores the fact that the Southern Democrats who opposed it ended up becoming (first) the Dixiecrats, and then once the Dixiecrat experiment failed, they became Republicans (especially after Nixon’s Southern Strategy).

    You might recall that Lyndon Johnson (D) who pushed for and enacted Civil Rights, ran against Barry Goldwater — a Republican who vowed to repeal Civil Rights… and who lost in a massive landslide.

    If you’re going to trot out soundbites, it helps to know your history.

  37. He’s also cranky about Obama blaming BP for the nightmare in the Gulf of Mexica..
    “I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business.”

    Because, you know, “sometimes accidents happen.”

    Um, yeah, sure.

  38. Mythago @ 28: The EEOC and civil rights case law labels what happened in the case of my former employer as unintentional discrimination because the business did not make any effort to say to minority applicants that they are not hireable or will not hire minorities, etc. Instead, they stated that the person hired for the position had to have a degree and a certain amount of experience. That’s their right as a business to select the qualifications for the position and their responsibility to judge each and every applicant fairly by those criteria. You can take that phrase and twist it to basically mean that minorities have to be hired for a position regardless of whether they have the job experience or education experience, but in my book, if a company uses the exact same criteria to every job applicant and chooses an applicant based on that criteria, that is not discrimination. In the above case, the EEOC went through every bit of interview notes for all the job applicants and found that the company did choose the job applicant based strictly on that criteria, but because they did not have a certain percentage of minorities in senior positions, that lack constituted an adverse impact on minorities. Again, the EEOC decision ignored the fact that the company willingly hired minorities and gave them every opportunity for promotion where their skill set and education gave them the opportunity to do so. I worked for this company for 7 years (It took me a hell of a long time for my slacker butt to figure out what I wanted to do in college) and had a couple of black supervisors who started as line workers the same as myself and worked their way up to shift supervisors and did a damm fine job.

    My opinion is that it is better from a practical and moral standpoint to get rid of the adverse impact rule because it breeds resentment and makes businesses fearful of being sued if they don’t hire minorities for positions in cases where they dont have the degree or job experience to do the job. It doesn’t matter what frigging skin color you have if you dont have the degree or experience to do the job. I wouldnt have gotten my current job if I didnt have the degree and experience Uncle Sam required.

  39. It strikes me that most Libertarians are pissed off because someone is interfering with something they wanted to do.

    You could say they are closest to our evolutionary roots. Its all about me, don’t bother me, don’t try to change me, and I’m not sharing any of my toys.

    But out here in reality land, the rest of us are trying to evolve into a social agreement in which we provide protection to all for the protection of self. It involves looking out for people entirely unrelated to us, sacrificing some of our stuff, and curbing some of our choices.

    They don’t want to grow up and do that.

  40. It is a little sad that he’s cut and run so quickly. I disagree with his Libertarianism, but I’d’ve thought better of him if he’d stuck to his guns. And it would’ve been an interesting debate.

    Still, I’ve got to wonder why he originally chose this particular issue to contest. Civil rights are a pretty stark illustration of the failure of Libertarianism. We tried letting the free market solve the problem for 100 years (longer in the North) and it didn’t work.

    Guess @ 29: Yeah yeah yeah. Up until 50 years ago the Party of Lincoln were the “Good Guys” on Civil Rights. Problem is, starting with Nixon’s Southern Strategy they spent the last 50 years pissing all over that legacy. That you have to go back to Ike to find your examples says something…and it’s not very flattering to Republicans.

  41. It’s interesting to me that you make a connection between Libertarianism and Communism, because in my mind I think of them both as wishful philosophies, i.e., they’ll both work great, as long as human behavior fundamentally changes to suit them somewhere along the line.”

    Thank You, Your Deliciousness! I have been telling that to friends and family for years and they look at me like I’m defective.

  42. Christopher @38: if the criterion is “makes employers fearful of being sued” then we should get rid of all civil-rights laws entirely, yes?

    Vicky @37: what’s particularly funny is that some of the other businesses involved blamed BP for the spill. Is Rand Paul calling the CEO of Transocean a liar?

  43. Jon Marcus @ 40; my feeling is he walked back his criticism of the Civil Rights Act because he didn’t want to be tarred and feathered by the MSM as racist when his criticism, out of touch with reality and practicality, is not based on hatred but on philosophical disagreement over the power of government versus the power of individuals. To me, he’s basically saying individual people can protest the abhorrent behavior of others and get them to change in all cases when that doesn’t always work. Sometimes, in order for everybody to have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the government sometimes has to use its coercive power to change the abhorrent behavior of some people. But, the MSM doesn’t really care about philosophical disagreements, they can’t wait to label him as the racist new face of the Republicans. If only they got their head out of their rear areas and starting doing reporting instead of propaganding.

  44. Mythago @ 42: The adverse impact rule, yes absolutely. The EEOC has plenty of case law and investigative experience to figure out if a business is using degree and job experience requirements as a cover for illegal discrimination. They shouldn’t be allowed to rule employers guilty of racial discrimination when there is no illegal conduct of the part of the employer.

  45. @40, “We tried letting the free market solve the problem for 100 years (longer in the North) and it didn’t work.”

    The Free Market isn’t. Take away government controls and corporate interests will conspire against the public. They’ll bust unions, form trusts and monopolies, buy politicians, brutally silence critics, and pollute. And that’s just in the First World.

    And it would have been a fascinating campaign. I mean, he won the primary, and the next day he starts talking about how business owners should be free of the law. Voters get the representatives they deserve: I’m curious to see how that one would go.

  46. 1) Republican running in a red state. (Kentucky went for Bush by 20 points, and McCain by 16.)

    2) Tousled good looks; okay speaker. (Note that both Kentucky’s current Senators are homely old guys, and one of them is a poor public speaker who can be charitably described as “erratic”)

    3) Fired-up base.

    4) Immense war chest, backed by his father’s mailing list. Note that Paul _pere_ never gave that list to the GOP. Or the Libertarians either — sorry, Bob Barr. But he raised an insane amount of money in ’08.

    The first post-primary poll gave Paul a 25-point lead. That’s a Rasmussen poll, so take it with a grain of salt — fivethirtyeight.com can tell you where and how to place the grain exactly, if you’re interested — but he’s clearly starting way, way ahead.

    So he has quite a bit of room to stumble around, and quite a lot of time to recover.

    Doug M.

  47. Christopher @42: the reason I’m getting confused is that ‘disparate impact’ doesn’t simply mean that you have too few employees of a particular race; it means that a policy appearing neutral has effects that are not neutral. Here’s a definition. Surely you’re not saying that the EEOC should turn a blind eye to discrimination as long as an employer words its policies carefully. “Discrimination against women? Gosh, no. We just have a requirement that anyone applying for a senior management position must be at least 6′ tall. It’s an authority thing. Totally not sexist.”

    @43, did we fall down the rabbit hole? I thought the whole point of the post is that Maddow, unlike most of “the MSM” (that’s a dogwhistle for “everybody except Fox News and conservative blogs”, right?), actually did the reporter thing and asked him to explain his position instead of euphemizing his way around it. As it was, he got tagged by many as racist and wimpy. Shouldn’t he have just said that he agrees wholeheartedly with the purpose of the CRA but disagrees that coercive government power is the way to accomplish that purpose?

  48. Mythago @25 – I don’t follow. If the constitution already is clear on the subject, then the issue is settled. I tried to give examples where there wasn’t a clear constitutional amendment already dealing with the issue: abortion, the death penalty, legalized marijuana, legalized prostitution, gay marriage

    Yeah, some of them have court cases that have dealt with it, namely Roe v Wade for abortion, but that case is under constant threat of being overthrown. An actual constitutional amendment stating the final law on the matter would be the only thing to settle it. And my point is that the best way to get to a point where you can pass an amendment is to let the states each handle it on their own until you get to a clear majority. And a Federalist approach like that seems like a Libertarian approach to solving the problem (my weak tie-in to the topic at hand to avoid the Scalzi Mallet).

    I don’t get what your “hate the constitution” argument is. You reference “Marbury v. Madison”, which I understand was the first example of the Judicial branch overuling a law on the basis of the law being unconstitutional. I was trying to cite examples that do not yet have a clear constitutional precedent one way or another (or, in the case of abortion, a constitutional precedent easily overturned based on the next Supreme Court appointment). If the Constitution is clear, then the point is moot, the issue is settled and it is just a matter of enforcement – but that is besides the point.

  49. Me thinks Paul, like Doug said, has plenty of room to stumble and win his own election. My suspicion is the whole point of this uproar is to tar and feather him as the racist new leader of the Republicans and allow every Democrat running for a seat nationwide to link his or her opponent to Paul and by suggestion and innuendo make them a racist as well. It’s funny how tired, sad and lacking in policy ideas the Democrats have become when their first line of defense is to whip out the race card.

  50. Sara @39 But out here in reality land, the rest of us are trying to evolve into a social agreement in which we provide protection to all for the protection of self. It involves looking out for people entirely unrelated to us, sacrificing some of our stuff, and curbing some of our choices.

    Exactly.

    The thing that’s always been a head-scratcher for me with the L’s is that they insist that humans would settle into a healthy pattern of self-governance if only left to their own devices.

    Well… We did, actually. And we did it more than 200 years ago.

    Back then, the majority of us decided that a representative Republic–in which the general public hires people to do the tedious day-to-day work of managing large-scale community structure and resources–was the best way to live in a civilized nation.

    And it has been. Which is why the majority keeps voting for this structure, over and over again and why much of the rest of the civilized world eventually did away with their monarchies and dictatorships and adopted similar systems.

    The L’s are right that most of us aren’t stupid. We’ve proven that by setting up one of the most egalitarian and functional forms of government on the planet. Flawed, undoubtedly. Could use a lot of nips and tucks in places and we might be better served by a Parliament than the setup we have now, but it’s still far better than an anarchic free-for-all.

    If the L’s really do think we should trust our fellow citizens, then why don’t they trust what we’ve already done by setting up the government we have?

  51. I’ll call this my Frank Herbert’s Dune comment, I just found so many instances where I could quote from it.

    Scalzi @5

    It’s interesting to me that you make a connection between Libertarianism and Communism, because in my mind I think of them both as wishful philosophies

    I agree as well. But if we are looking at Communism an Libertarianism as opposite poles, I would prefer that Government be biased towards Libertarianism rather than Communism: That is when legislating, the bias should be more personal liberty and adjust as necessary away from that if things don’t work out.

    Liberty and Freedom are complex concepts. They go back to religious ideas of Free Will and are related to the Ruler Mystique implicit in absolute monarchs. Without absolute monarchs patterned after the Old Gods and ruling by the grace of a belief in religious indulgence, Liberty and Freedom would never have gained their present meaning. These ideals owe their very existence to past examples of oppression. And the forces that maintain such ideas will erode unless renewed by dramatic teaching or new oppressions. This is the most basic key to my life. -Leto. II, God Emperor of Dune: Dar-es-Balat Records

    Mark Terry @9

    Although it always feels satisfying to “throw the bums out” as it were, I’m also aware that congress is a fairly complicated place with a strong and well-embedded pecking order, and freshmen senators and representatives are so far down on that pecking order they’re lucky if they get chairs in the room the committees

    The problem, from my point of view, is that entrenched bureaucracy is a threat to liberty. I mean you have to ask yourself how is it that so many prefessional legislators become millionaires during their tenure as legislators? Whose interests are they serving?

    And perhaps in general it is OK to have a professional legislator class, but there are times when it becomes clear that they have become so insulated and so corrupt that we really do have to clear the decks and start over.

    Liberal bigots are the ones who trouble me most. I distrust the extremes. Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat. It’s true! Liberal governments always develop into aristocracies. The bureaucracies betray the true intent of people who form such governments. Right from the first the little people who formed the governments which promised to equalize the social burdens found themselves suddenly in the hands of bureaucratic aristocracies. Of course, all bureaucracies follow this pattern, but what a hypocrisy to find this even under a communized banner. Ahhh, well, if patterns teach me anything it’s that patterns are repeated. My oppressions, by and large, are no worse than any of the others and, at least, I teach a new lesson.
    -The Stolen Journals

    Michael T @10

    John – Although I agree with the intent of your post, there are actually some constitutional implications of the Civil Rights Act because Congress used the Commerce Clause of the Constitution rather than the Equal Protection amendments to enact the law…

    Of course without further input from the man himself, who knows if Rand Paul intended to evoke this (fairly subtle) point. Except for legal scholars it is possible that no one really even cares about how the Act was passed.

    I think this is the case. Hopefully he’s learned a valuable lesson which, to me, is this: Don’t get into philosophical discussions during a political campaign.

    Crayonbaby @12

    Even Mitch McConnell will work against him (behind the scenes of course).

    No. He won’t.

    Mary L @17

    Rand Paul is actually a pretty lousy libertarian: he’s anti-abortion, pro-drug war…

    True enough.

    Gareth M. Skarka @36

    Ah yes, that old canard. All well and good — except that it ignores the fact that the Southern Democrats who opposed it ended up becoming (first) the Dixiecrats, and then once the Dixiecrat experiment failed, they became Republicans (especially after Nixon’s Southern Strategy).

    Ah yes, that old canard.

    Sarah @39

    But out here in reality land, the rest of us are trying to evolve into a social agreement in which we provide protection to all for the protection of self.

    All with other people’s money. But you know, as people in Europe are finding out (especially Greece) after a while, you run out of other people’s money. And then what?

    And it turns out that whole dependency thing works against such an arrangement when things fall apart, or one has a severe economic downturn.

    They don’t want to grow up and do that.

    Growing up means no longer depending on mommy and daddy to provide for your needs.

    Most civilization is based on cowardice. It’s so easy to civilize by teaching cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery. you restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons. You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos. You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame.
    -The Stolen Journals

  52. Matthew @48: I really am not trying to be snarky here or bring on the Mallet, but from a legal POV your argument is not making any sense. Having a constitutional amendment doesn’t always make issues clear (see: fifty metric tons of Fourth Amendment litigation), and you’re mixing up Constitutional amendments with precedent, as well as ignoring issue of states having their own laws and constitutions, but having to recognize the acts and laws of other states even if they’re different.

  53. Re: comparisons between Libertarianism and Communism – Rand Paul reminds me of what might happen if a low-level communist party true believer got far enough to rule. You’d end up with all the rhetoric and fervent devotion to the ideology and none of the cold-blooded evilmindedness that gets the job done. Which is kind of good because in the past several years it seems like the only thing we haven’t seen coming out of Washington is a horrific, Stalinesque purge.
    And I really hope we see much more of Rand and his ideas. The rest of the country needs to see what will happen if tea partiers are successful in fielding their chosen candidates.

  54. Mythago @ 47: You either forgot or ignored the end half of the provided definition in your criticism. As long as the employer has a legitimate reason for the job requirements (ie must be able to lift 50 pounds) and can prove its need for such a job requirement is necessary for the function of the job, that doesn’t constitute discrimination even though it may have a disparate impact on a minority. Basically, before the Supremes handed down Ricci v DeStano, an employer could be ruled guilty of discrimination if their job selection criteria and process did not select enough minorities even though the criteria and processes were applied evenly and fairly. In essence, the business could be punished for something they had no control over, for example if the public school system of Detroit failed to provide a good education for black students.

  55. Rand Paul certainly didn’t have any problem with Rachel Maddow when he announced his plan to run on her show last year. I guess he expected a love-in when she invited him back this week — oops.

    Of course, had he simply answered the question when she asked it instead of evading for twenty minutes, he might have had a better experience. And the fact that he ended up sprinting away from his own position on CRA makes his stubbornness on her show all the more laughable.

    He had better learn the political ropes real quick or he will be toast in November…

  56. I just have to share my favorite example of why Liberterians have a hard time getting elected.
    Here in San Diego some many years ago there was a proposal to ban the sale of adult contact papers from newpaper boxes on the street. (Adult Contact papers all full of ads for escorts and swingers and have pictures of ladies in naughty clothing on their covers.) Being a sailor town these papers are popular and sell well, being a conservative town they are viewed as an evil to be bannished.
    On the local talk radio they held a debate between the conservative view and a local liberterian — I think it was Richard Rider but I can not swear to this — on the proposed ban.
    The conservative debater naturally went striaght to the ‘kids will see it!’ argument. It didn’t take the libertarian long before stating in these words which I will never forget…
    “Children have a right to pornography.”
    This the L’s in a nutshell, logically consistent and electorally idiotic.

  57. Mythago @52 – I’m not ignoring those things. I am just saying that we have all those things now, but they have failed to settle many of the most contentious issues (the moral issues I listed in my previous comments). The state by state until you get enough majority for a constitutional amendment seems to be the best way to handle those issues, and Libertarians would probably support that. However, I am now repeating myself, and nobody likes that. So lets drop this unless you want to come up with a specific example to talk about.

  58. Christopher @54, again, the problem of “disparate impact” is not whether, in your words, the criteria are applied evenly or fairly; the question is whether the criteria are fair in the first place. That’s the point of the definition, and I’m not sure why you accuse me of ignoring it. If I decree that everybody hired for senior management at my office must be be able to lift 50# although none of the job duties involve heavy lifting, it doesn’t matter if I apply that requirement to every single applicant for senior management. The rule itself is bogus. Again, you can’t seriously be arguing that discrimination should be legal as long as you put it in code. (“No women? I don’t know what you’re talking about; we require all of our IT personnel to be able to write their names in the snow by peeing, and we don’t hire men who can’t do that either!”)

    You appear to be decrying situations where the mere results – “you don’t have X number of women in management” – is by itself taken as proof of discrimination of some sort. That’s very different than wanting to get rid of the whole concept of disparate impact.

  59. Matthew @52: same-sex marriage is actually a fine example. But that discussion properly ought to go on one of the same-sex marriage posts, not here.

    But again, getting back to Scalzi’s point, Rand probably realized that he could be popular, or Libertarianly correct, but not both. A straight answer would have been to say that however horrible discrimination was, federal intervention in the form of the 1964 CRA was, morally, even worse. Racial issues aside, a ringing declaration that government intervention is the absolute worst possible evil is definitely a minority viewpoint. And not an electable one.

  60. Mythago @ 60: Disparate impact goes back to Griggs v Duke Power, where the company in question tried to get around the CRA by requiring all applicants to have a high school diploma and high scores on aptitude tests. Because of the lack of educational opportunities at that time, African Americans were more likely than whites not to have a diploma and score lower on aptitude tests. Griggs basically said that businesses couldn’t purposely couldnt use such requirements unless they were reasonably related to the requirements of the position. Basically, Griggs was saying due to previous racial discrimination, diplomas and tests, etc couldn’t be used. What that ruling has evolved into, and what affected my former employer, was the practical effect of businesses afraid of being sued by an irate job seeker even though the job requirements for the position were legitimate.

    In the case of my former employer, they could demonstrate the position required an engineering degree and that the applicant lacked such a degree because the person in that position needed mechanical and materials engineering schooling and knowhow to do the job properly. Like I said, before Ricci v Destefano was handed down, such arguements really had no chance of succeeding with the EEOC. They could argue, legally correct, that if the company did not have enough minorities employed or if the job selection decision would adversely harm the minority by not being hired, that company was guilty of discrimination. They could argue that past racial discrimination by society to deprive minorities of educational opportunities had harmed minorities, which it did, and as such had put the minority at a disadvantage to compete for the position even though the job selection criteria by the company was racially neutral. More to the point, having the power of the government behind them, they could cram this point of law down the throats of business whose job criteria was racially neutral and not formed by bias. The EEOC has enough legal tools in its whoop-ass box to go after businesses who try to play hide the salami and make up bogus criteria and not make businesses who need certain skill sets and job experience nervous that Uncle Sam will come calling because they don’t have enough minorities on staff.

  61. Frank@51: Segregationist Dems —> Dixiecrats —> Republicans. Where’s the canard there?

    Or are you lacking in a solid argument against it because you can’t couch it in Herbert quotes or Randian Galt-wannabe nonsense?

  62. Christopher @63: so, again, because the EEOC picked on your former employer, the solution is not to limit the “disparate impact” rule to hide-the-ball cases, but is to jettison the rule entirely because probably there’s some other unspecified way of handling things. I’m not convinced, particularly as the EEOC’s regulations are not the first or last word in the government addressing discrimination. See the recent Novartis lawsuit (and ginormous verdict) for an example. And now we’re almost back on track, because in Libertarian utopia, lawsuits against businesses are bad because they might result in taking away a business’s money.

  63. The canard he points to is the Bill Bennet talking point that’s gone mainstream recently that the GOP is responsible for the Civil Rights Acts, and that the Democrats are evil on race, or something.

    LBJ was responsible for the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and moved mountains to get the ‘functional’ version passed once he was President.

    But to move back a bit, the Democratic Party’s liberal wing had worked harder and longer (from the thirties, but let’s say from Humphrey and ’48) to do things to move Civil Rights forward, while the GOP’s moderate faction sort of waffled and then chased racist votes, and now complains whenever someone calls them racist for chasing racist votes. This showed up during the ’08 campaign when Krugman and Brooks argued about whether or not Reagan’s first campaign was race baiting, with Brooks ultimately claiming that Reagan was not personally a racist, so it was OK. Which is not an answer.

  64. McDevite @66: Yeah, I get that. That’s what I was pointing out — to which Frank@51 replied to by echoing my “that old canard” statement — apparently in an ironic fashion, or something. I was asking him to clarify, since the history is pretty f’ing clear.

  65. Awwww, Rand Paul isn’t a bad guy, he just likes the sexy, sexy feel of the toe of his left shoe rubbing against his tonsils.

    (Slaps forehead.)

    TPM has dug up footage of Paul ranting about the Amero and the NAFTA Superhighway.

    This is the kind of bug-eyed heartland paranoia normally found in emails that your elderly aunt with an AOL account forwards you.

  66. Gareth M. Skarka @64

    Segregationist Dems —> Dixiecrats —> Republicans. Where’s the canard there?

    You seriously want to go there? OK.

    Canard
    1 a : a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report b : a groundless rumor or belief

    So your argument is that “Segregationist Dems —> Dixiecrats —> Republicans” is some kind of proven fact? I don’t think so.

    Where is the evidence; the study, anything but the assertion that it is true?

    Is it your position that every racist democrat decided to leave the Democratic Party to join the Republicans leaving the Democrats pure in this regard and the Republicans forever tainted? If so, prove it. If not how many left precisely. How many stayed?

    However, it is a fact that (despite what McDevit said at 66) the Civil Rights Bill of 1957 was proposed by the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower

    I believe that the United States must make certain that every citizen who is entitled to vote under the Constitution is given actually that right. I believe also that in sustaining that right we must sustain the power of the Federal judges in whose hands such cases would fall.

    -Dwight D. Eisenhower, July 31st, 1957, News Conference

    Despite some famous Democratic opposition, ultimately in the House Republicans favored the bill 138 to 34 and Democrats supported it 152-96. Now that’s bi-partisan. In the Senate it was different. Democrats successfully filibustered the bill (though 1 Republican participated) a number of times but ultimately it passed the Senate.

    Eisenhower, also signed into law the Civil Rights act of 1960 which was filibustered in the Senate by 18 Democrats.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which was supported by President Johnson passed the house with 79% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats voting “Aye”. The Senate vote was 73 to 27, with 21 Democrats and only 6 Republicans voting no.

    So it’s a demonstrable fact that the majority of Republicans supported the Civil Rights Acts.

    It is an unfounded “canard” that Segregationist Democrats became Republicans.

    I was asking him to clarify, since the history is pretty f’ing clear.

    Sure is.

  67. Free speech is not the same as oppressing your free and equal fellow citizens and restricting their access to the economy just because you own a business, or banding together with other business owners to completely restrict that access from other citizens. Free speech does not mean free harm of others. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what far right libertarianism wants to have. They talk about the free market, but what they actually want is a return to the usual forms of feudalism, with as many people blocked from access to the market and economic opportunity as possible. This doesn’t create a healthy economy, strong small businesses, an effective workforce, a representative democracy or anything else, but it does make a small percentage of people very rich and very powerful. For libertarians like Rand, the most important thing is property rights. I.e. those who own property have the rights.

    Michael T. — there are many people who care that it’s commerce over direct civil rights — the Texas School Board wanted the school history texts to state that the Civil Rights Act did not grant blacks equal rights as citizens on those very grounds.

    And that’s the problem — state governments are cesspools. It’s easier for extremists to be elected at the state and local levels, to run corruption scams and hijack areas of government, leading to things like Arizona’s immigration law and Latinos are teaching treason in our schools law, and the Texas School Board mafia. It was state governments that brought us separate but equal. And if you think federal politicians are beholden to special interests, you ain’t seen nothing compared to the state level. If you want to get anything done on civil rights, you have to get the federal government to do it, because state governments will scuttle it and continue to try to restrict access to government, voting, education, commerce and legal redress of minority citizens and immigrants.

  68. Alex #2: Well-played and well-summarized, sir…

    I think what will be notable about Rand Paul’s walk toward the center isn’t that he does it, but how far he has to walk.

  69. It is an unfounded “canard” that Segregationist Democrats became Republicans.

    Be nice to have more than your word on that part.

  70. Be nice to have more than your word on that part.

    How do you propose that I prove unicorns don’t exist?

    The onus is on the unicorn proponent to prove they do.

  71. OK, damn it. I see what you did there. I’m trying to clean that spot, that spot right in the middle of your comment. And I scroll, because it seems weird. And I notice that as I scroll the spot shifts, and I’m thinking that the background is now transparent, and I check my background, and it certainly isn’t that and then I finally realize that IT’S YOUR PICTURE!

    And I have to agree with you. He’s now in the big leagues, and despite what other supporters say (I’ve made a rather big splash in an email list. They think it’s a turd.), the voter that’s in the voting booth doesn’t really give a damn about the fine points on the candidate’s philosophy, they have much more pressing issues on their mind.

    And while I understand that his thoughts are very well consistent with libertarianism, if it were up to ME, I would have picked something different than the Civil Rights Act to point out that the government shouldn’t be dictating to private citizens, because there are bunches of laws that do that.

    And the basic fact that his supporters don’t get is guess what? The Civil Rights Act works! On all points! Even on the points that they have issues with!

    Wow, amazing!

  72. Frank:
    Strom Thurmond. Jesse Helms.
    There were undoubtedly others but those are the ones that came to mind. I can look up some more if you’d like.

  73. Strom Thurmond. Jesse Helms

    So? Robert Byrd and Al Gore Sr remained Democrats.

    Robert Byrd is still a Democrat and still serving in the Senate.

    Throwing out names is not proof of the contention that the majority of Segregationist Dems became Republicans.

  74. Frank:
    You asserted that it was unfounded. Several notable Democrats went down that path. That seems like a reasonable foundation.

  75. Keep in mind that this is the state that elected Jim Bunning to the House for six terms and to the Senate for two. That alone should tell us that Rand Paul isn’t exactly facing a razor-sharp electorate. I think his chances are as good as his political philosophy is loony.

  76. Christopher @63: Knowing something of these cases, my guess is that there were employees currently holding an equivalent position in the company who did not have a bachelor’s degree.

    Or, it was felt that minorities were being hired for lower level positions without the qualifications that would allow them to move up in the company. Thus the creation of the “junior assistant engineer” position which would provide an alternate method of advancement. You also don’t know what promises of advancement opportunities were made.

    But, in the end, having a largely minority manufacturing workforce and an all-white management/engineering staff is something a company does by choice. It’s not something that “just happens,” even if they can justify every individual hiring decision.

  77. The problem with Paul’s claim that the Civil Rights Act has a conflict with individual freedoms of speech (I’m pretty sure he meant association, but whatever) is that Jim Crow laws, and Jim Crow society, was already a governmental phenomenon at a local level.

    Think of how this works out. You’re a libertarian, and you’ve just been appointed King of the Federal Government during the era of Jim Crow. You possess surprising insight for a libertarian, and recognize that Jim Crow laws are a violation of the freedoms of association of business owners who don’t want to be racists, and in any case enforcement of even the most property rights oriented theory that permits individuals to discriminate based on skin color requires police action to remove pesky minorities from your lunch counter.

    So you order that Jim Crow laws be dismantled, as de jure discrimination is unconstitutional under your libertarian framework. Fair enough, and good for you.

    The localities that have these laws ignore you.

    So… what do you do? Send in the federal guard to police them on a daily basis? How does that sit with your libertarian views?

    What if you’re successful on getting the de jure laws removed from the books, but unofficial violence replaces it, and the state looks the other direction? This fairly characterizes the reality of the Jim Crow era, and undoubtedly it would extend to cover segregation issues in our hypothetical… since in the real world it did as well. So now you’ve got local terrorism and local government turning a blind eye. Do you send in the federal guard?

    And this doesn’t even begin to address the second amendment issues. If the federal government is unable or unwilling to address injustice and state tolerated terrorism, and the local government tacitly endorses it, there’s a pretty fundamental argument to be made in favor of violent insurrection. Seriously, I have no possible means of arguing that the Revolutionary War was justified that wouldn’t also justify violent revolution in the face of the Jim Crow government-by-lynching.

    So… yeah. The real world effects of policies matter. Enforcing policy preferences requires actions that may undermine those policy preferences. And ultimately you and your political theories will be judged on results.

  78. Mike V @ 15

    Last week, my sainted 91 year-old grandmother came to visit. After dozens of appalling conversations about “those people”, speaking their “obscene language”, and forcing “real Americans” to live in fear, I’m ready for a few rules of polite discussion. It may not be refreshingly honest, but I’m glad that our society is willing to push that crap out of the mainstream.

  79. @Frank #78 Al Gore Sr. was by no stetch of anyone’s imagination a segregationist Democrat. He was both anti-Vietnam War and pro-Civil Rights and it’s a toss-up as to which view got him defeated by a rich Republican twit whose name isn’t worth mentioning. The proudest vote I have EVER cast was for Al Gore Sr. during that election just after 18 year olds were given the right to vote.
    As for Rand Paul, I just always assumed he was racist as his dad clearly is and they obviously share lots of other views. Though it’s easy to make great fun of him now, as John expertly did, the odds are quite good that he’ll be elected, and that’s the tragedy.
    @Gareth #14 That’s a terrific quote, thanks! It may wind up on my door.
    My summation of libertarian philosphy: “I’ve got mind and I don’t give a crap if you get yours”.

  80. #63 (and others) Christopher Shaffer — I was there then too, and people will just never understand what happened. That’s not what they intended, so it must not have happened, or it must have happened in some other way. Save your fingers.

    The problem with libertarianism is that only about 1% of the population wants to be left alone. All of the others either want to be told what to do (they’re about 90%) and the others (about 9%) want to do the telling. The 90% don’t trust those who don’t want to be told, and the 9% want obedience.

    The Tea Party (Yea!) will throw some of the bums out, but not enough of them to break either the seniority system or the party system. That’s why I’ve converted to Rational Anarchism. Make what rules you want, if they’re the right thing to do, I’ll follow them. If they’re not, I’m still doing the right thing.

    Beam me up, Scot, there’s little intelligent life down here.

  81. How do you propose that I prove unicorns don’t exist?

    there are several ways. Chart elected officials’ party switches. Chart voters’ party switches. Chart changes in party memberships. Compare to other regions and eras.

    This is, after all, what historians and scientists do. You can quite probably find that work already done for you by established scholars.

    And, dude….YOU made the claim. It’s not MY job to support or disconfirn it.

  82. @84: Earl Cooley III

    Rand’s real name is Randal. They started calling him Rand for short, and it stuck. I’ve heard of other men with Rand for a first name, so it’s not entirely out of the question.

  83. coolstar

    Al Gore Sr. was by no stetch of anyone’s imagination a segregationist Democrat. He was both anti-Vietnam War and pro-Civil Rights

    Well it’s tough to prove since Al Gore Sr voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But I suppose you can be pro-Civil Rights yet vote against the Civil Rights Act.

    I just wouldn’t expect anyone to believe me. No one would believe a Republican if he or she claimed it.

  84. Now Rand Paul is blaming the Liberal Media for reporting what he actually said on TV.

    http://www.randpaul2010.com/2010/05/rand-paul-sets-the-record-straight

    My big question regarding this is: Why was he talking about the CRA at *all?* Doesn’t he have anything better to do?

    Also, he thinks the President is being far, far too cruel to poor, poor BP. It’s unAmerican!

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/21/paul-says-obama-being-too-tough-on-bp/?fbid=r_dyJbOJfQT

  85. @88: Ryan

    There is no blaming of the media that will withstand any kind of scrutiny. He opened his mouth, he put his foot in, and he chewed and chewed.

    And yes, you bring up a very good point. I think he could have made his point with a very different law, and it wouldn’t have seemed at all radical, he wouldn’t have to backpedal about it. And a lot more people would be nodding along. Now he’s got most of the Republicans refusing to offer any kind of help in dealing with this.

    And since he’s the one that brought it up first in a local newspaper editorial and then NPR, he can’t blame anybody but himself over it.

  86. Paul like most libertarians believes that federal mandates on private individuals, are well, EVIL.

    Libertarians have no problems with the Civil Rights act as applied to government, government contracting, or even in large corporations which have a monopoly due to government intervention (like utilities). Admittedly they do have a problem with government supported monopolies.

    What they do have a problem with the government telling Bob’s sandwich shop (at the point of the federal gun) that he has to serve someone he does not want to, and that the appropriate way to deal with discrimination in the private sector is by economic sanction.

    There is a good argument that the lunch counter boycotts did as much if not more than the CRA to end discrimination in the South.

    I saw the interview, and frankly I thought he did fine. The real issue is he answered the question from a philosophical standpoint (which liberty minded people almost always do) rather than a pragmatic or political viewpoint.

  87. Frank–
    In terms of evidence on behalf of Republicans pursuing the Southern Strategy, there are a couple of key events and figures that firmly back that up, but most notable are, I think, Ronald Reagan and Lee Atwater. Here’s Lee Atwater explaining how he appealed to Southern white voters who might feel some resentment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Atwater#Atwater_on_the_Southern_Strategy

    What’s most interesting to me is that no sitting Republican, as far as I can tell, has stood up and condemned Lee Atwater, and condemned Reagan for using Lee Atwater’s poisoned fruit. Ever. If I’m wrong, feel free to direct me to links–I’m looking specifically for sitting House members, Senate members, or Governors who’ve come right out and condemned Lee Atwater.

    Then there’s the very strange case of Ronald Reagan’s choice for his first post-convention speech in 1980:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia,_Mississippi#Ronald_Reagan.27s_visit

    Reagan used the phrase “States’ Rights” in a positive way, which is strange, because that is not only the exact rallying cry of those who opposed integration, it was the very name of the party single-issue candidate Strom Thurmond formed to run for President in 1948. Against integration. Also strange: 3 civil rights workers murdered in 1964, only 16 years earlier. Reagan didn’t say a thing about ‘em. Wonder why. Maybe you can help me out there.

  88. I think Libertarians are the most idealistic people in the world. They really do believe that left to their own devices people will do the right thing. Look at Alan Greenspan and his shock that large corporations didn’t act in their investors’ best interests.

    This is a wildly incorrect notion of libertarianism and is almost precisely backwards. It is because libertarians understand that people are capable of evil, particularly the sort of people who hunger after positions of power, that they wish to prevent government from interfering in people’s lives to the greatest extent possible.

    As for Alan Greenspan, you need to learn the difference between the innnocent, self-serving revisionist Greenspan and the coldly calculating servant of Wall Street. There was absolutely nothing libertarian about Greenspan; it wasn’t as if he eliminated all of the many government regulations that create and govern corporations as well as forcing them to sell their stock on certain specific private exchanges rather than freely on the Internet.

    As for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was positive in that it overturned the state and local governments’ legal enforcement of segregation, which was a clear violation of the Constitutional right of free association. And it was a negative in that it also overturned the individual’s Constitutional right to free association.

    It is profoundly stupid to claim that a private individual does not have the right to refuse to serve someone on the basis of race, sex, or any other criteria he happens to choose, given the right of free association. (Yes, I am aware that the Supreme Court has declared otherwise, that still doesn’t change the perfectly clear text of the Constitution.) Once you eliminate that right, you have transformed the individual into a legal serf with no control over his own services as there is no bright line on further directives from the government except the momentary whims of the responsible agents.

    Libertarians are those few who understand that the problem with the brick is not the brick itself, but that it is another brick in the wall.

  89. Lifelong Kentuckian here.

    Rand Paul is going to run away with this election. He started the sprint for the finish line as soon as he won the Republican primary.

    It’s true that Kentucky elects Democrats to state offices. But these Democrats are moderate by our own standards and extremely conservative by national comparison.

    Rand Paul’s Democrat competitor, Jack Conway, is WAY too socially liberal to be elected. Handsome, yes, but he’ll only win our more urban communities (Louisville, Lexington, etc), which barely edged him past his primary opponent by 1%.

    On the federal level, Kentucky only wants a pro-life anti-gay Republican. Tea Party, Socialism, Obamacare, and all the other buzz words will stir some sentiments, but the Republican candidate had this 2010 election in the bag somewhere around 1980.

  90. I should note that it is also profoundly stupid, in many cases, for business owners to exercise their right to free association on the basis of superficial factors. If I manufacture computers and refuse to sell to Asians, I am voluntarily abandoning a huge international market. If I own a bar in Detroit and refuse to serve blacks, I am not likely to remain in business very long. These things tend to sort themselves out over time courtesy of the inexorable market forces.

    On the other hand, in some cases, it is necessary for other businesses owners to exercise their free association right if they are to remain in business. The successful fitness franchise, Curves, is built upon little more than anti-male discrimination whereas the traditional men’s social clubs are all but extinct because their customers were not interested in patronizing the government-dictated mixed-sex format.

    Everyone discriminates/exercises their right to free association, the only question is where one happens to draw the line. The primary problem with permitting the government to draw the line for everyone is that the government is a dynamic entity. Those who cheer government involvement in telling business owners they cannot discriminate against homosexuals are unlikely to be happy about a government telling business owners they must discriminate against them. But once you have permitted the camel’s nose into the tent, you have very little control over which part of the tent it will eventually choose to defecate.

    Best to keep the damn camel outside where it belongs.

  91. Anyone who genuinely thinks that anything short of federal legislation would break the back of the horror that was Jim Crow needs to go back and reread any of the several thousand books on what segregation was really like.

  92. The problem with libertarianism is that only about 1% of the population wants to be left alone. All of the others either want to be told what to do (they’re about 90%) and the others (about 9%) want to do the telling. The 90% don’t trust those who don’t want to be told, and the 9% want obedience.

    I’m curious where you gathered these statistics.

  93. VD- Out of curiousity, if these things tend to sort themselves out eventually due to market forces, why did Jim Crow last about a hundred years, why did it only end due to federal intervention, and why did ending it trigger a significant backlash and a lot of resentment?

    I have an answer, but my answer takes into account the overall system of white supremacist rule, views businesses discriminating against blacks in the context of a society where African Americans were discriminated against in a multitude of ways that included precluding them from gaining significant market power, and essentially concludes that market forces do not, in fact, sort these things out. I’m interested in your explanation.

  94. To further what Patrick said @98, the ‘market’ couldn’t correct the system because local and state government had already stacked the deck against blacks. Business owners didn’t fear losing market share to competitors who would serve the black community because the black community had little money and no power. The reason they had little money was because those same business owners that refused them service also would not hire them for all but the most menial, low-paying jobs — and even then would fire them on a whim for the slightest provocation. The reasons they had no power are pretty obvious.

    To argue that such a system, where black males would be lynched for simply appearing to look at a white female, could be eventually abolished by something as ethereal as ‘market forces’ is a complete joke.

  95. But once you have permitted the camel’s nose into the tent, you have very little control over which part of the tent it will eventually choose to defecate.

    I was unaware that camels have such a strange manner of defecating. Apparently they shit from their nostrils. Who knew?

  96. @22:

    “Humans as a whole …all tend to act in our own self-interest.”

    It’s been my observation that we tend to act in our _perceived_ self-interest — a perception which tends (in my opinion) to be neither accurate nor rational in the long term.

    (Mind you, “the long term” may be long enough for individual exceptions — the Financial Leaders who made millions of dollars (each) from their shennanigans resulting from the Republican/libertarian de-regulation of their industry still have their money, and will enjoy the benefits of it for their entire lives even though their activities will have resulted in a general economic collapse. OTOH, the voters who elected a Government that put through those de-regulations will pay the price for it … even though they probably will refuse to associate cause with effect.)

    My own feeling seems to be the People with Power cannot be trusted to benefit the populace they control — and that this applies to both Government and Business … with the Business arm being at least slightly worse & more harmful.

  97. Frank@51:

    “But out here in reality land, the rest of us are trying to evolve into a social agreement in which we provide protection to all for the protection of self.

    All with other people’s money. But you know, as people in Europe are finding out (especially Greece) after a while, you run out of other people’s money. And then what?”

    That wasn’t the problem with Greece, running out of other people’s money. Greece’s problem was that people weren’t paying their taxes…there wasn’t “any other people’s money” to begin with.

  98. Don Fitch @101: “It’s been my observation that we tend to act in our _perceived_ self-interest — a perception which tends (in my opinion) to be neither accurate nor rational in the long term.”

    I don’t even know if it’s perceived self interest as it is personal gratification. The person behind on his mortgage and car payments who nonetheless buys a new big-ass TV is not operating in his own self interest, perceievd or otherwise.

  99. Look, all you arguing that “market forces” were insufficient to get rid of Jim Crow are ignoring the huge elephant in the room, aren’t you? By definition, the free market =/= use of force. It’s voluntary trade. So all those laws that were put in place to keep segregation….yeah, so NOT the free market.
    We will never know for sure whether, in the absence of laws FORCING segregation, enough business owners were enlightened enough to value their increased business over bigotry – it very well might be true that only a few white-owned business would take that kind of risk.
    But to act like the LAWS, and the police (who are NOT part of a free market but part of a system to keep the status quo) who enforced those bigoted laws are the expression of a free market…is equally ignorant.
    Is there solid proof that the demand for all those laws arose solely from private businesss, rather than a combination of bigoted legislators and bigoted rich whites who wanted to maintain their comfortable situation – by force?

  100. Patrick #98 and John H #99 – So both of you appear to acknowledge that before the CRA market forces could not act to mitigate racial discrimination due to interference from state and local governments.

    The existence of Jim Crow laws is sufficient to indicate that in the absence of such restrictions racially-discriminatory business owners feared competition from businesses without such policies; had such discrimination been universal, as hypothesized ad nauseum in these types of debates, there would be no reason to pass a law against it. It is not unlikely that such businesses would have lost in the marketplace to competitors who wisely chose not to arbitrarily exclude part of their customer base, their personal feelings notwithstanding.

    Removal of those legal impediments was beneficial, and is not really in dispute; the only point at issue is whether the additional step of violating the individual right of free association was appropriate.

    This is the only effect of the CRA that Paul, and many other libertarians, take issue with – whether individuals have the right to institute discriminatory, but nonviolent, policies with respect to their personal property and private business.

  101. I’m surprised that John has repeated something that I know he’s said earlier, so I’ll repeat it for him.

    Markets are not free.

    (at least that’s how I remember it, Google isn’t coming up with anything for the site. Sigh…)

  102. Greg G @105: “The existence of Jim Crow laws is sufficient to indicate that in the absence of such restrictions racially-discriminatory business owners feared competition from businesses without such policies; had such discrimination been universal, as hypothesized ad nauseum in these types of debates, there would be no reason to pass a law against it.”

    I think your logic is a bit flawed: the Jim Crow laws were a backlash against Reconstruction efforts to empower blacks. Once in place they eroded political and economic protections provided by the federal government to freed slaves. This resulted in a return to supremacy of rich whites in the South — a dominance they were not going to willingly give up.

    Discrimination may not have been universal, but it was pretty close. Even had those laws not been in place, a white business owner that would have considered desegregating his business would have been ostracized and stood to lose far more white business than he would have gained from black business.

    Ultimately the market may have changed this, but I don’t think we would be as far along today as we are without that provision in the CRA. You can argue the philosophy, but I think the results have been pretty good.

  103. I find it interesting that Rand Paul’s much more potentially damaging “accidents happen” position on BP and Massey Energy is not getting the coverage instead of his floundering on the Maddow show. He seems mired in the land of “should be” in very limited contact with “is,” in general, but taking a position which suggests that it’s all right for people who might otherwise vote for him to die in mine accidents doesn’t seem to be the best way to encourage voter turn-out.

  104. TomG: “We will never know for sure whether, in the absence of laws FORCING segregation, enough business owners were enlightened enough to value their increased business over bigotry – it very well might be true that only a few white-owned business would take that kind of risk.”

    Oh sure, it was the laws that were making white business owners keep black people out of the market. Actually, it was the white business owners. The laws were just the deal they made with the politicians to enforce what the business owners wanted. The blacks were already a customer base for them. Who do you think owned the businesses that served blacks and the buildings they were in? The same businesses that served whites. The white customers for businesses got to avoid blacks and the white business owners got to sell to both, got to use both blacks and whites as labor but could pay the blacks a lot less. And the segregation they were allowed to do let white business owners keeps blacks out of owning businesses, and out of becoming an economic or political force in the society. The white business owners didn’t want a free market. They wanted a market they could control and a government they could control to back them up. This is what business always wants.

    And what they want, they enforce among their own. If a white business owner stepped out of line, hired blacks, broke the set-up, that owner would find himself attacked by the business community, the law and by vandalism. A small business person who didn’t comply could be completely wiped out or even killed. Blacks who caused trouble were attacked, killed, or possibly jailed, but the white business owners didn’t always need the cops. All they needed was a bottle of liquor and some good old white boys. It was Southern culture that kept segregation in place, not Southern government.

    The reason the boycotts helped was because it was blacks acting as a political force. Risking both the thugs and the thugs in the government, blacks protested, shining a national spotlight on just exactly how nasty those white business owners were and how non-equal segregation was. That it was simply the same indentured servitude that business is always trying to use. Because it became a political movement is why we have a Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act is not a “regulation.” The Civil Rights Act is a declaration that all citizens are equal and cannot be treated as non-equal by businesses and government agencies.

    And out of that Civil Rights Act, we actually got a free market in which citizens are treated as equal under the law and thus have equal access to the marketplace, rather than having that market controlled by a powerful business class. There is no voluntary in the voluntary trading unless government regulates that it is indeed voluntary.

    We need businesses. But businesses are not individual people and do not have civil rights. They are public institutions that have to respect the equal rights of all citizens, whatever the personal views of their managers or owners. Otherwise, the market isn’t free. It’s a set of fiefdoms that control people’s lives, marked by monopolies and oligarchies. A fiefdom that always chases short term gains and profit at the expense of long term economic health. The government is Constitutionally supposed to regulate and govern commerce so that the market remains free. When it doesn’t, we don’t have a free market.

  105. Sheila @97: part of the appeal of Libertarianism is the view that it’s a sort of political Mensa; the only believers are the elite, the intelligent, those who roll their eyes and ask to be beamed up because there’s no intelligent life down here among the sheeple. Everybody else wants government because they wish to be led, whereas the intelligent, virile Libertarian needs no government to protect him or shelter him on his path to excellence.

    TomG @104, we really don’t need to pretend that there’s no way in heck to know what would have happened if a free market flourished. NGOs like the Klan made a practice of addressing blacks who got too prosperous, and white businesspeople who tried to cross the color line in any but the most exploitative manner. You can complain they were breaking the law, but isn’t the whole point that we don’t want laws? And we don’t want the government and its guns to be telling people what to do?

  106. In response to Clay Duvall@94: I am also a lifelong resident of the Bluegrass State, and I think that you are being a bit premature to say that Rand Paul is going to run away with the election (though, to be honest, if the election were this Tuesday, I fear you might be right). There is a lot of time between now and November, and I think that Jack Conway has a bit more on the ball than a lot of people give him credit for. Don’t forget that several polls had Conway 15-20% behind Mongiardo when the primary season began. I would be very interested in seeing how Paul and Conway would come across in a “real” debate, if one were to take place.

  107. Be on notice: I am totally stealing the phrase “the entertainment wing of the GOP rather than the ‘attempting to get elected’ wing”.

  108. TomG –

    I know. Because all those government men were preemptively beating all those white business owners, we’ll never know how they would have responded given a genuine shot at a free market. Especially considering all the lynchings of white business owners that everyone, including the government, sanctioned in order to prevent the free market from freeing the oppressed white business owners who just wanted to selltheir wares to all comers.

    It was q very hard time for white business owners. And it still is. On account of they “have” to do, because of some stupid law, what they would do given the chance to do so of their own volition. And what’s the point of a law enforcing a behavior I’d otherwise willingly adopt. Thanks alot government for taking away my freedom to enjoy my own willing sense of charity and making me resent my obligation to do what I’d do willingly.

  109. Sheila O’Shea: The 90, 9, and 1 I’ve heard for decades; I have no specific memory of where I heard or read it first, and no citation. I’ve repeated it for decades, too, and this is the first time I’ve been questioned about it. Maybe it’s my own words coming back to me. The numbers are approximately what I observe in my life, although I have not been actually keeping running totals. It’s tied in my mind to the idea that 2%-3% of an adult population is sufficient to maintain and triumph an insurgent revolution (which I also have no citation for), so maybe it was related to that.

  110. Growing up means no longer depending on mommy and daddy to provide for your needs.

    Yes and usually involves people turning into a fair copy of mummy and daddy when they realise all the stuff that mum and dad used to do for them without realising.

    I find many Libertarians to remind me of post-university 20 somethings or high school leavers who’ve got their first job and are living and home and get bent out of shape when mum and dad ask them to start paying for some of the stuff around the house.

    The shock usually kicks in shortly after they leave home and find that trash doesn’t magically walk out of the kitchen, clothes don’t magically wash and hang themselves and food doesn’t just march into the fridge of its own accord.

    Some people take a lot longer than others to realise these things but when they do it’s often the end of their Libertarian tendencies.

  111. Out of curiousity, if these things tend to sort themselves out eventually due to market forces, why did Jim Crow last about a hundred years, why did it only end due to federal intervention, and why did ending it trigger a significant backlash and a lot of resentment?

    Because the market forces were never permitted to act in the matter. The historical situation was merely one government possessed of one ideology versus a different set of governments possessed of another.

    I was unaware that camels have such a strange manner of defecating. Apparently they shit from their nostrils. Who knew?

    Allow me to explain the analogy in a manner you can understand. The nose of the camel is merely the first part of the camel to enter. Unless the tent is assumed to be so small that the camel’s nose can reach all of it, the obvious implication is that the rest of the camel will enter, and eventually, at some later point, will soil the tent rugs.

    You can complain they were breaking the law, but isn’t the whole point that we don’t want laws? And we don’t want the government and its guns to be telling people what to do?

    You clearly do not understand the difference between libertarianism and anarchy. Libertarians have always supported laws that ban the initiation of the use of force.

    Look, it doesn’t take a superintelligent elite to understand the core issue here. Big government liberals basically want a king because they believe/hope he will be a good king. Libertarians look to history and realize that there are far more bad kings than good kings. So, with regards to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, we’re saying that pointing to one partially-positive royal action 46 years ago is a very poor justification for monarchy.

    And if Rachel Maddow and other left-leaners seriously want to talk about legislation from nearly five decades ago instead of the way Bush/McCain/Obama’s buddies at Goldman Sachs are raping the global equity markets and leaving the global economy on the verge of a planetary meltdown, well, that’s just insane. Even if you’re not a libertarian, you need to know that men like Rand Paul are the only ones who will even try to save you from the Vampire Squid.

  112. We need businesses. But businesses are not individual people and do not have civil rights.

    This absolutely SHOULD be the case but is at least partially incorrect from a legal perspective. Unfortunately, the ludicrous court-dictated “artificial person” concept has been expanded and these days is often utilized in the reverse manner, which is to say treating an actual person with rights like an artificial person sans them. And vice-versa whenever it suits the artificial people to be treated like an actual person.

    Please don’t confuse libertarian enthusiasm for capitalism with corporatism either….

  113. John,

    This Rand Paul issue keeps getting away from me. So I avoid it and then, like the political junkie I am, I go back out and just blurp out pent up frustration in a big ball of sarcasm.

    Apologies, really, for contributing.

    Bill

    *** SSB (spontaneous sarcasm blowout) is a very serious condition affecting millions. Contact your local SSB office to see how you can help raise awareness. ***

  114. VD:

    And if Rachel Maddow and other left-leaners seriously want to talk about legislation from nearly five decades ago…

    Rand Paul brought it up. Maddow questioned him on it, but she didn’t pick that example at random. She picked it because Rand Paul thought it was a good idea to talk about the CRA five decades after.

    I don’t think he’s going to save you from the vampire squid.

  115. [Deleted due to utterly batshit white man whining/paranoia. We'll not be having any more of that in this particular thread -- JS]

  116. Having lived the first ten years of my life in the Jim Crow alive and well era in the South (if you count Dallas, TX as the South), please, let’s not go back there.

    If all the lines and lines of discussion I have read here come down to the Libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul or any other Libertarian if implemented by our political processes would permit Jim Crow to happen again through free market forces of voluntary association, that fact alone is sufficient reason to kick Libertarian thought into the dustheap of really bad ideas thought up by humankind during the ages.

    My English class students just finished our study of To Kill a Mockingbird. They now know just how evil we can be toward our fellow sojourners on this planet because of “differences” between us.

    So, Rand Paul may well move to the center to be elected? Amen. Please do move away Candidate Paul from such views as would philosophically resurrect moral evil in the world.

  117. Rand Paul, the moron who says Obama is being un-American for trying to hold BP responsible for the ongoing gulf spill, is going to save us from corporatism?

    Here’s An oil industry shill blog praising Rand Paul for trying to protect the oil industry from over-regulation from evil communist liberals

    The attempt to bring and demand perfection in any human endeavor, no matter what type it is is ridiculous and unattainable, as any sane, healthy and honest person will admit. All that happens when government steps in in the way Obama has is to make things more expensive and harder to do, and usually the endless number of regulations will have unintended consequences which do more harm overall than good.

    Well, Kentucky has no coastline, so Rand is safe from the results of sucking up to an industry that’s going to ruin the ecosystems and economic livelihood of the gulf coast. But regulation on mines in Kentucky are an issue. One some savvy journalist ought to hit Paul with. Of course, he’s now taking a Palin on media interaction – only going with friendly FOX news types.

    Unsafe working conditions are nothing new, and government regulation to keep them from happening necessarily follows. Corporations can recover from killing off workers. They have in the past, and as grunt labor is a cheap commodity, it was common practice in the days before regulation to just shrug and get more workers. The Triangle Shirtwaist fire. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. And countless deaths in small scale industrial accidents before that. It took a mass casualty event to get public attention. Before that, deaths were just to be expected. Rand Paul would push us much closer back into that direction.

    It’s one thing to say that some regulations are worse than others, but it’s another thing to say, after a preventable mining or drilling catastrophe, that more safety standards are un-American.

  118. VD: “Big government liberals basically want a king because they believe/hope he will be a good king. Libertarians look to history and realize that there are far more bad kings than good kings.”

    A king is not a benevolent father. A king is the chief land owner and business owner, allied with other land owners and business owners. A king has the divine right to kill anyone for any reason, to take anything he wants, and to starve the people and treat them as slaves. Liberals don’t want kings. Liberals want democracies where citizens have equal access.

    But libertarians kinda do. Libertarians again and again advocate that those who own property and business should be able to make the rules and the populace have to comply with them. The claim is that the market will give consumers and workers other options; the reality is that they don’t. The libertarian system is an upper, ruling class of business owners and serfs. Rand Paul wants to hand you over to BP and Mr. Massey.

    Businesses are made up of people and people act on rational choices (market factors, search for profit,) and irrational choices (prejudice, belief that groups that are different are a threat and should be kept from power.) The market automatically regulates some market factors, but not others (such as not deliberately trying to harm your mine workers for the sake of profit,) and does nothing with the irrational ones. If you postulate that government people are more often bad than good, then you have to accept that business people are more often bad than good. So they’ll keep putting sawdust into the bread for more profit until the government says they can’t. Making business people the lords and kings of the system doesn’t work either.

    “This absolutely SHOULD be the case but is at least partially incorrect from a legal perspective. Unfortunately, the ludicrous court-dictated “artificial person” concept has been expanded and these days is often utilized in the reverse manner, which is to say treating an actual person with rights like an artificial person sans them. And vice-versa whenever it suits the artificial people to be treated like an actual person.”

    Rand Paul was arguing that the artificial person concept was correct. That a business had civil rights through its owner of free speech, although the right he was actually talking about — to turn away customers on the basis of racial bigotry — is not a form of free speech. A sole proprietorship owned by one person should not have more rights than a corporation and be allowed to strip the civil rights of individuals in doing business.

    Blastman — There is no neutral utopia because discrimination is still rampant in the social system. White people, particularly white males, still are the majority controllers of both government and business. Black people are still discriminated against in getting home loans and business loans, in getting hired, in getting an advanced education. Black kids on average don’t get an equal education to white ones in public schools, and white students are statistically more likely to get scholarship money than black ones. Men still make more money than women for the same work, and so on. Arizona just passed a law to try to keep Latino citizens from voting.

    The Black Caucus is an advocacy association not to keep whites out, but to make sure black voices are heard by the majority of whites who run the government. It’s the same with women organizations. White, male restricted clubs and other associations, however, historically were and are trying to keep blacks and women’s voices from being heard, trying to keep them from having any significant role in government or business, and trying to keep them out of the market.

    As a white person, I can work at a black magazine (because of the Civil Rights Act,) buy a black magazine, watch a television show full of black characters, and sit in the audience of the Miss Black USA pageant. I am not discriminated against. The endgame of the pageant is a college scholarship as are the black scholarships, and that’s because it is harder for blacks to get scholarships than whites. It’s an attempt to adjust against the discrimination from society that blacks face in trying to better themselves.

    Your claim that white males are second class citizens in the U.S. is ludicrous. White males run the majority of businesses and major corporations. They are the majority in government at the state and federal levels and make the laws. They are the majority in religious institutions. They own the businesses that own the black magazines. They still run the joint.

    But if they cannot legally, openly discriminate against black people and women, then it at least gives all citizens the chance to enter the market. Those who aren’t white males will still deal with social discrimination that makes it an uneven playing field. But they will at least have the right to be on the playing field.

    I’m sorry that you see this as a threat, instead of as a way to enhance and strengthen society for both whites and non-whites, men and women. But that you do see it as a threat, that you want to paint white males as disadvantaged and being stolen from, is exactly why we needed the Civil Rights Act. And why the Southern Strategy is working so well in politics right now.

  119. In response to JoelZ @111: I also believed Conway was going to lose. But I’m personally very much a “socialist”, and I’m now very excited that I get to vote for Conway on a ticket supported by the Democratic Party. I would have voted for Mongiardo but begrudgingly. There is reasonable opportunity for Conway to win and I’m going to cling to every scrap of hope I find until November.

    To be honest, I’ve developed a lot of cynicism for our Senate elections due to Mitch McConnell’s ability to consistently stomp competition. I should recognize Dr. Paul’s newness to Kentucky voters, and recognize there’s every chance for him to screw up in a big way, particularly in a debate.

    But old and new factors are going to make Rand Paul nearly unstoppable. The former range from the aesthetic to the representative (he’s handsome enough, he’s pro-life, he’s pro-gun, he’s a christian, he’s got that nice doctor title, etc.), but all are partitioning the whole of what I sense makes him most electable: most Kentucky voters WANT to vote for a Republican and only need a few talking points on the candidate to ensure their confidence in him. This is particularly true in the western part of the state (my home arena), where we’ll probably see Conway winning when the polls close EST only to see a tidal wave of red votes when the polls close CST.

    New factors are, of course, healthcare legislation and the Republican Party’s twisted rationale linking Conway to Obama (who missed Kentucky’s electoral votes by a long stretch), but what most concerns me is money. Thanks to our Supreme Court, Rand Paul can use as much TV time, news ad space, and lawn pickets as private corporations can buy. And if Mitch McConnell throws his support by Paul, which is inevitable, Mitch’s very wealthy friends are going to make sure half our commercials have a “this message is approved by Rand Paul” voice stamp. We’ve experienced a lot of that in the past, and I think it’s going to get worse. I think it’s going to produce the best Republican turn out in Kentucky since Reagan ’84.

    I know this is a lot of speculation. But what I do know for sure is that my entire family will be voting for Rand Paul, and the vast majority of their friends will be voting for Rand Paul, and that they rarely vote inconsistently with the rest of the state.

  120. Sorry for skipping over the last few pages of the thread–but the fact that Rand Paul called Deepwater an “accident” is what flipped my lid.

    Massive design flaws from engineering to explosion; that’s not an accident. Whatever you think about drilling for oil, Deepwater wasn’t an accident. It was a massive succession of people dropping the ball from lease to current leak, without anyone in the chain of responsibility dropping their balls long enough to call the operation off.

    An oil rig getting hit by lightning and then by a meteorite is an accident. A rigger falling overboard never to be seen again–not an insignificant risk, mind you; and we’re not even getting into offshore seafood processing plants–is an accident.

    Shoddy rig design followed by shoddy construction followed by not testing the seal… Not “an” accident; it was a string of massive neglect. Horribly defective plans got green-lit. The architecture was stupid, it wasn’t build properly, it wasn’t sealed properly and it wasn’t tested properly.

    And then there’s the matter of the dispersant…

    It doesn’t make me worry about Gulf drilling, despite the fact I live here–it makes me worry about what else is slipping under the radar.

    /end rant; my apologies for thread-hijack, Mr. Scalzi.

  121. If all the lines and lines of discussion I have read here come down to the Libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul or any other Libertarian if implemented by our political processes would permit Jim Crow to happen again through free market forces of voluntary association, that fact alone is sufficient reason to kick Libertarian thought into the dustheap of really bad ideas thought up by humankind during the ages.

    They don’t. Jim Crow was segregation by government contra the free market forces of voluntary association. Libertarianism is as opposed to Jim Crow at the state level as it is to violating the right to voluntary association at the state and federal levels. But it is interesting to note that you would be directly opposed to the Constitutional right of free association on a results-based metric. Did you actually intend to take that position.

    Rand Paul was arguing that the artificial person concept was correct. That a business had civil rights through its owner of free speech, although the right he was actually talking about — to turn away customers on the basis of racial bigotry — is not a form of free speech. A sole proprietorship owned by one person should not have more rights than a corporation and be allowed to strip the civil rights of individuals in doing business.

    You are very confused here. He was doing no such thing in that case. Allow me to explain. If a business has free speech and free association rights THROUGH its owner, then we are obviously not talking about the intrinsic rights of the “artificial person” itself. Moreover, when you say that a sole proprietorship should not have more rights than a corporation, it is you who are explicitly supporting the “artificial person” concept. That’s fine, just understand that you are doing so.

    Also, you are clearly confusing legal status with results. There is absolutely no question that despite their greater economic and political success, men are legally inferior to women under the present legal regime. Just to give two of many examples, a woman cannot be thrown out of the house she owns and forbidden to see her children without arrest and trial on the mere word of a single individual unsupported by any evidence and a woman cannot be forced to subsidize the raising of a child which DNA evidence proves is not her own.

    As you have already admitted, minorities are also legally favored, albeit to a lesser extent. But in order to prevent an irrelevant tangent here, please note that I am only pointing out that there are genuine differences in legal status, this is not a discussion about whether those differences in status are justified or not.

  122. When you consider that the ’64 CRA was merely an over-correction of past government abuse of power in the form of even more government abuse of power Paul’s position is not very surprising. It’s too bad he didn’t know enough to articulate that however.

  123. In response to Clay Duvall@125-I agree that Western Kentucky will probably be the key for Paul (I live it Louisville which will probably go for Conway). One thing I hope is that Dr. Paul’s comments on the recent coal mine disaster (in the same interview in which he defended BP) may cause him some problems in that region.

  124. The 90, 9, and 1 I’ve heard for decades; I have no specific memory of where I heard or read it first, and no citation. I’ve repeated it for decades, too, and this is the first time I’ve been questioned about it. Maybe it’s my own words coming back to me. The numbers are approximately what I observe in my life, although I have not been actually keeping running totals. It’s tied in my mind to the idea that 2%-3% of an adult population is sufficient to maintain and triumph an insurgent revolution (which I also have no citation for), so maybe it was related to that.

    In other words, you have no facts to back up your position, just some stuff you read somewhere that fits truthily into your personal view of the world. Check.

  125. VD@127
    I am not really arguing any specific argument other than I think none of want to live where the laws tell us we must be separate from others of the human race. Jim Crow did just that but Jim Crow merely legislated the cultural preference of the southern whites who were angry with the Reconstruction carpetbaggers who for a time successfully allowed former black slaves to be full-fledged citizens with all the rights and privileges of the white southerners.

    Our founders included free association as one of our core values and rights. Jim Crow laws clearly denied free association in violation of our founders’ intent. I do think it wrong and a moral evil for anyone in goverment or private life to place barriers to free association, such as denying persons of colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or whatever from showing up as a customer at their place of business. Then again I think religious organizations can define their membership roles to include people of their religious view and belief. So maybe I am not completely consistent in this thought. But, hey, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds I have heard said many a time.

    I do find Libertarianism too idealistic a philosophy that assumes human nature is good and therefore benign. Human nature in my view is too flawed to allow any society to order itself in a social community without some common societal-imposed boundaries. Does this make me a “Statist”? I hope not. I can’t conduct an English class without a few boundaries (we call them class rules). Society needs the same and rather more of them than Libertarians seem to desire.

    So again, let Rand Paul move to the center. I rather like the fact that all our political candidates must move to the center to be elected. Says that most of us here in the USA have some common sense and wish to avoid taking extreme positions on the far right, left, up, or down. Some of the worst incidents in human history were the ruling powers taking extreme positions far from the center-line.

  126. So again, let Rand Paul move to the center. I rather like the fact that all our political candidates must move to the center to be elected.

    Why? That just means they’re hypocrites who lie about what they believe to get in office. Unless they actually change their views, that’s all they’re doing.

  127. Rick…@132
    Touche. Once in office many of them show their true colours and all the center-talk disappears. So true. But not always. Sometimes political realities force them to take the center positions they espoused, because, you see, there are re-election contests in front of them. Every two years for House members. When you look back at our political history, enough of this political reality has occured, I think, to stand for the hypocrites sneaking in from time to time. Usually they sneak in from the very deep blue or red “safe” districts. In those districts, best pick the candidate who appears closest to the center-line during the spring primaries and hope for the best.

  128. My favorite quote from today’s Louisville-Courier Journal:

    By Friday afternoon the Rev. Hershael York, the conservative pastor of Frankfort’s Buck Run Baptist Church and a professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, posted this on his Twitter account:

    “Every time Rand Paul gives an interview my fear that Jack Conway will be elected as my senator rises significantly.”

    (http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100522/NEWS01/5230308/1071/NEWS0106/First+salvos+may+foreshadow+Kentucky+U.S.+Senate+campaign

    Of course, fear is not the word I would have used.

  129. VD: Rand Paul was arguing that a business owner’s business is the same as the business owner, that they are one PERSON with civil rights such as free speech. In reality a business is separate from whoever owns or manages it. It is a legal institution that is part of commerce, not a person through an owner or otherwise. It has no civil rights. A business open to the public engaged in trade that then bars part of the public on the basis of race is not practicing free speech, but restraint of trade, forceable restraint of citizens and infringement of the civil rights of citizens to equal access. Basically, Paul is saying that business owners should have more rights under the law than other citizens who don’t own businesses, including the right to keep them from commerce. It’s not a free market, but a rigged one that he is proposing.

    “There is absolutely no question that despite their greater economic and political success, men are legally inferior to women under the present legal regime. Just to give two of many examples, a woman cannot be thrown out of the house she owns and forbidden to see her children without arrest and trial on the mere word of a single individual unsupported by any evidence and a woman cannot be forced to subsidize the raising of a child which DNA evidence proves is not her own.”

    That’s not true. A woman can be thrown out of her house and forbidden from seeing her children on claims of abuse, and a woman with the income can be forced to pay for a child who is legally if not biologically her own. A woman with children who calls the cops on a violent spouse but does not leave can have her kids removed by the state for not protecting them. But if she leaves with the kids, this can be argued in divorce court as abandonment, losing her claim to the house which is still often a woman’s only asset in a marriage.

    Both men and women can be screwed by the courts and I’ve unfortunately had to watch it happen to several female relatives. The courts are still run in the majority by white men, who make up most of the judges, and who make up most of the politicians who make the laws the courts must enforce, and white men still make up most of the police force. The law still favors white men and white men tend to favor white men. More black men are sent to prison than whites for longer sentences for the same crimes. More blacks are sentenced to death row. Laws that attempt to make up for these biases are not “favoring” minorities or women, but attempting to give them the legal redress that otherwise gets denied to them in the legal system. But what they do get is seldom as much as the legal bias against them, and they certainly statistically are at a disadvantage for buying legal help and resources.

    And then there is of course Nebraska, which passed a law that women wanting an abortion are forced to have an invasive ultrasound procedure and other medical treatment against their will (and civil rights.) You don’t see Rand Paul rushing to oppose that intrusive government interference in personal rights and privacy, because Paul is anti-choice. He believes that women who are pregnant give up their civil rights, that the state should have legal control of their bodies, that the state should decide their medical treatment and that the state can order the woman to die if her life is in danger from a pregnancy. He believes the state should keep gays from marrying in preference to one group’s religious beliefs, in direct contradiction to the first amendment. He isn’t rushing off to Arizona to protest the immigration law which allows the state to force citizens to prove their status at any time, a monumental invasion of private, civil rights. Indeed, libertarians helped write the law. He doesn’t care that Massey Mines violated the law, gambling the lives of its workers for a quick buck.

    Because Paul’s brand of libertarianism doesn’t care about personal rights or state control of individuals or a free market. He only cares about businesses having as much power as possible over individuals and the market. His brand of libertarianism wants a return to Victorian-era feudalism. He wants political power so that he can bring the camel right into your tent on numerous social issues. He is your common garden variety hypocritical thug.

    And he may indeed get elected because rural Kentuckians are dealing with a bigger, changing world and a nasty economic downturn from the oughts, and have been told by the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch and Dick Armeys of the world that all their problems are the fault of immigrants, non-white poor people, people outside their church, gays, and women who don’t know their place. Oh, and liberals and politicians who won’t ignore these people’s civil rights and control them properly. And this political rhetoric has gone from being subtle to outright bigotry, because we have a black president for the first time.

    So VD, you can sing me a song about defending liberty, but all I’m hearing from libertarians and Tea Partiers is that they want to take my rights away, make markets closed and controlled rather than free, and make their buddies kings of the universe. Oh, and pretend slavery never happened, but black people still don’t have equal right under the Constitution. So I’m not interested, dude.

  130. In other words, you have no facts to back up your position, just some stuff you read somewhere that fits truthily into your personal view of the world. Check.

    “Truthily”. Hmmmph.

    May have read. Maybe I made it up, and forgot that I did. Reality is the territory, citation is the map. Looking about, the 90-9-1 principle isn’t unique to me, though. Perhaps I’ve confounded the 80-20 and 90-10 rules from computer design with other bits of life.

    http://www.90-9-1.com/

    http://www.useit.com/alertbox/participation_inequality.html

    http://lithosphere.lithium.com/t5/Building-Community-the-Platform/bg-p/MikeW/label-name/90-9-1

    Most people are most comfortable with someone else telling them how to do something, what to do, fitting in.

    A smaller number are more content if they’re doing the telling.

    The number who want not to be told and not to be the boss is much smaller than either of the other groups.

  131. @Kat Goodwin You have my sincere admiration for trying to educate those who time and time again prove they’re uneducable. If a person reaches adulthood and still believes any of the L crap, then that meme appears to be pretty much permanently burned into their neural pathways, unfortunately (I know, there has been a few, very few, “miracle” cures).

  132. What a fascinating conundrum! You, Mr. S. rule your website with the proverbial iron fist and insist on your privileges as owner. Your posting, however, implies that you think government should be able to tell you how to use it and mandate that you allow rude people or disrespectful people to post, perhaps in the name of the First Amendment. After all, it’s only private property. Why shouldn’t other people be able to tell you how to use your property? Why shouldn’t public objectives deemed worthy by people you’ve never met be enforced through your site?

    Perhaps there might be something to this libertarian thing after all. Perhaps if we are to really be the masters of our own destiny, we have to accept that other people can have their own ideas and standards as well, and can use their property in accord with their ideas and standards.

    This does require a certain amount of faith. It requires faith in the marketplace of ideas, in the concept of the meme. It requires belief that, over time, good ideas will survive and grow stronger while bad ideas will fade and be forgotten.

    Do you have that kind of faith? Do we all? Apparently not, as people continue to think that government, which has universally failed in every instance throughout history, can somehow get it right this time.

    So, by all means – continue to mock those who seek meaningful changes. It will make the ideas stronger until they succeed. I will do my part and continue to berate those who cannot learn from history and see that every single governmental system has failed at economics, has failed at freedom and liberty, and has ultimately even failed to sustain itself. Government is a problem, not a solution.

  133. KIA:

    “Your posting, however, implies that you think government should be able to tell you how to use it and mandate that you allow rude people or disrespectful people to post, perhaps in the name of the First Amendment.”

    Only if you have an extraordinarily poor understanding the post, the First Amendment, and the economic nature of this site. It also requires suggesting that “rude and disrespectful people” are somehow covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is at the least a novel interpretation.

    So: No, your asserted implication is completely stupid on several levels.

  134. People who say “Government is a problem, not a solution” almost certainly never dealt with life as a minority in the pre-civil rights era.

  135. Apologies for the double header posting, but Ta-Nehisi Coates linked to this post by Charles Lane on Rand Paul’s ignorance of why civil rights legislation is needed, and how it works. There’s also a great photo on TNC’s blog here.

    The meat of Lane’s argument is here:

    Suppose an African American customer sits down at a “whites only” restaurant and asks for dinner. The owner tells him to leave. The customer refuses and stays put. What are the owner’s options at that point? He can forcibly remove the customer himself, but, as Paul concedes, that could expose the restaurateur to criminal or civil liability. So he’ll have to call the cops. When they arrive, he’ll have to explain his whites-only policy and ask them to remove the unwanted black man because he’s violating it. But they can only do that on the basis of some law, presumably trespassing. In other words, the business owner’s discriminatory edict is meaningless unless some public authority enforces it.

    Conversely, it is precisely because of this nexus between private discrimination and public enforcement that the larger community, through the political and judicial process, acquires a valid interest in legislating against discrimination. The public is entitled to say whether their tax money should pay for arresting black trespassers on whites-only property.

    Here’s another good quote:

    There is no such thing as “private” discrimination with respect to a public accommodation. Like any other claimed property right, it could not exist without government support.

    And another from Coates summing up Lane:

    What Lane is pointing out is the moral deficit at the core of the private property argument, as applied to the South circa 1963. At that moment we were faced with the following question–Do we hold our property rights so sacred that we would send our police to arrest black people for trying to enjoy a milkshake? To the country’s credit, we chose not to retreat into ideological rigidity and abstraction.

    Now, after the police dogs, night-sticks and fire-hoses have been beaten back, Rand Paul wants to reopen the question, while, to be sure, claiming that he would have had the “courage to march with Martin Luther King.” This is a common strain of courage. It chiefly shines through in men born 50 years too late. Presently among the crowd, they are distinguished at that decisive moment when queried about wars they won’t have to fight, in times they will never live. These men populate our history books. They are all on the wrong side.

    [emphasis mine]

  136. Come now, Mr. S. Everyone knows the ad hominem attack is the last resort of someone who has already lost the argument. I am truly disappointed. Perhaps a nice government program can help you recover your senses.

    The analogy between the Civil Rights act, which demands that private property be used, or rather not used, in certain ways and the First Amendment imperative I outlined is clear. You feign ignorance because you cannot admit that you would not tolerate such action against *your* property while still suppporting legislative and administrative oversight on the usage of *other people’s* personal property.

  137. KIA:

    “Everyone knows the ad hominem attack is the last resort of someone who has already lost the argument.”

    [Edited -- a lot of snideness, which I have now thought better of]

    Shorter version: Pointing out that your argument is bad and based on an apparent poor understanding of the concepts you wish to build that argument on is not ad hominem — it’s pointing out your understanding of these concepts appears to be flawed. Beyond that, insisting that your argument is clear doesn’t actually make it a good argument (or for that matter, clear).

  138. Hm, very late to the party. Only a few stale pretzels left in the bowl, and the carpet is stained with beer. Hopefully I’m not restating something someone already brought up.

    I would just like to say that, having pondered libertarianism for a while now, that I think the problem with libertarianism can be summed up as succinctly as possible as this:

    Libertarians don’t believe in the Tragedy of the Commons.

    I’m pretty sure that’s an honest representation of what libertarians think. That if you had a commons, whatever that might be, and if you had zero regulation on that commons, and if you had nothing but free-market at play regulating that commons, libertarians believe that… well… they believe it’ll all work out just fine. No tragedy here, just a commons, and the invisible hand finding the best and most efficient use of that commons, and if anyone were to ever over-monopolize or over-use that commons, libertarians believe that consumers would react, en-masse but acting as individuals, not as a society or state and let that monopoly know, in no uncertain terms, that said overuse of the commons is not appreciated, and they would do this by boycotting the products of the monopoly. Which, is a second order of hilarity, because, well, it’s a monopoly on the commons, and whoever has the monopoly, well, they’re the only game in town. So if you boycott them, you’re not buying that product anywhere else, you’re doing without.

    But the short of it is that the tragedy of the commons is something that the most rudimentary trilobyte, even a slightly fossilized trilobyte, can understand. And yet, libertarians are so attached to their utopia that the free market will solve, literally, everything, that they are unable to grasp such basic concepts as the Tragedy of the Commons. It’s not that they come out and deny the tragedy, it’s just that they forward an idea of economics that uses smoke and mirrors to try and trick you into believing that if you have a Commons and there is Tragedy, that the problem is Regulation. And if you just deregulated the Commons, then the Tragedy would go away. Naturally. Not only that, if you Deregulate the Commons, you’d also find that the Commons would find the most efficient usage among all the people.

    Some libertarian leaning folks say this is unfair because, well, basically because libertarians would never allow a Commons to exist. It would automatically become privatized. But thankfully we’re not at the point where the Atmosphere is owned by British Petroleum and we rent it from them. Or the Oceans. Or (insert real Commons here).

    Anyway, that’s my only thought on Libertarianism at this point. They believe in a God called the Invisible Hand. And this God somehow steps in any time there is a Commons and makes sure that Tragedy doesn’t occur.

  139. KIA: Why shouldn’t other people be able to tell you how to use your property?

    You ARE telling Scalzi how to use his property. You want to be able to be rude and snide and sarcastic and rather illogical, and you don’t want him to be able to moderate you.

    This is the libertarian tyrrany.

    No one can regulate me! they scream.

    Oh really? What if the vast majority of people decide that they can regulate business? Who exactly are you to tell everyone else that they can’t?

    This does require a certain amount of faith. … It requires belief that, over time, good ideas will survive and grow stronger while bad ideas will fade and be forgotten.

    That’s already happening. Good ideas include regulating the market. Bad ideas include Laissez Faire capitalism.

    If anyone is lacking faith, it’s libertarians who lack any faith at all in humanity. If anyone is trying to subvert the will of the people as a whole, it’s libertarians who are trying to subvert the will of the people who have come out and said Congress shall have the power … to regulate Commerce, and followed up with regulations based on rule of law and constutional checks and balances over the last couple of centuries.

    It is libertarians who see all this, and say, “NO! You’re all WRONG!” And then demand we do it their way.

    There’s a question I’ve been asking libertarians for a couple of years now. So far, not a single one of them has given a straight answer to it.

    Libertarians usually have some set of rules like “violence is wrong. The state should police violence. But market choices are not wrong. The state should not police markets.”

    My question is if you consider these set of rules as a sort of Libertarian “constitution”, is it possible for the people to modify it? Or is it set in stone and no one shall ever change it?

    No Libertarian ever comes out with a straight answer to that. Because they think they have the “right” constitution, and they don’t want anyone else to muck it up. Even if they’re grossly outnumbered.

    This is where it becomes libertarian tyranny.

    Because the vast majority of Americans support the US Constitution where it says “Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce”. And Libertarians want everyone to know that America’s got it all wrong, that Libertarians are the ones who’ve got it all figured out. And they tell you a set of rules of how it should be, and they want those rules cast in stone, because, well, because the vast majority of Americans are against the basic “Constitution of LIbertarianism”. The vast majority of Americans support the notion that Congress can regulate Commerce.

    If anyone is lacking faith in the people, it’s Libertarians. The people have spoken, their collective voice has supported and reinforced the constitutional notion that the State can regulate the Market. And this has evolved and been fleshed out over the last couple of centuries. And libertarians insist that the right thing to do is throw it all out and listen to them. They know what is right. Everyone else is wrong.

    So, the question to any libertarian on the thread remains: (1) Does your “constitution” have any method for ammending it or not? (2) If the majority of people want market regulation, can they have it? (3) Or does the tyranny of libertarianism override the will of the people?

  140. Kat: Rand Paul was arguing that a business owner’s business is the same as the business owner, that they are one PERSON with civil rights such as free speech.

    I think the silliness of this becomes more apparent when the civil right in question is the right to vote, rather than, say, free speech. There is 1 amendment for the freedom of speech. There are something like 4 amendments for voting rights.

    Say Alice starts a corporation, Widgets Inc. Does Widgets Inc. get to vote in the presidential election? For the moment at least, the answer is “no”. Alice gets to vote, but her corporation has absolutely no voting rights.

    The day an artifically created entitty like a corporation gets a vote in addition to the votes of all its shareholders and board members and so on, is the day democracy dies.

    Anyone advocating that corporations have civil rights is essentially arguing for the end of democracy because voting rights is just as much a right as freedom of speech.

  141. While I regret the missed opportunity to read the snideness (because, let’s face it: you’re extremely *good* at it and that’s not meant as an aspersion of any kind, merely respect for the mastery) are you really saying you cannot follow the contradiction? Let me be more plain:

    You own property. You want to determine how your property that you have worked hard to develop and maintain and have nurtured for lo these many long years is used. You feel this is your right, and who am I to contradict that point? It is not my property and I do not and should not have any say in the issue.

    However, there are some who believe that because they get some of their friends together, they can call a vote and tell you how to use your property for the advancement of their agenda, whatever it may be. Perhaps they want you to carry a message of peace and love, perhaps they want to force you to fly a religious banner. Maybe they want to force you to allow posters to put forward “bad” ideas, but the moral problem is the same: it’s not their property so they should not have the right to tell you how to use it, whether they have a numerical voting advantage or not.

    The Civil Rights Act did precisely that in any number of respects. I am not claiming that it was ill-intentioned. I think the moral principle behind the act was of the highest caliber. In practical reality, however, it set the standard: government can now always tell you how to use your personal property if it has the votes to pass the legislation and can cobble together some plausible explanation of how it affects interstate commerce. This is the problem and conundrum. You want to simultaneously assert sole ownership and domain over your property without government interference, but support government intrusion and control over other peoples’ property.

    As you can see from other posts like the ones immediately above, this leads folks like Greg to think if they have the votes than it’s just dandy to implement whatever policy drifts across their consciousness without regard to property rights. That is tyranny, the tyranny of the majority, and it has no respect for any rights or freedoms. It is the tyranny which led to the auto-da-fe (condemning minority heretics) and, in fact, to slavery itself (dooming minorities based upon ethnicity) based solely upon majority power.

    Freedom requires not only personal liberties and freedoms, but property rights, for without the right to be left alone, to accrue and retain wealth, and to use your property how you deem best, your “freedom” is meaningless. You are merely a slave of the majority hoping that they do not take notice of you or strip you of your hard-won property.

  142. Actually, it does not say “Congress shall have the power to regulate Commerce” as such (although they act like it does); there were limits placed on the power.

    (L&l)ibertarians usually object to the initiation of the use of force; using force to respond to force is acceptable.

    I’m inclined to think that legally artificial persons shouldn’t have rights, because they don’t have souls, but there are a lot of problems with that position even without my bizarre rationalizing.

  143. @ Greg:

    Libertarians do believe in the tragedy of the commons as well as other areas in which government must be sustained as a necessary evil. They merely think that the role of government should be sharply limited to such issues, and that the framers did a fine job of enumerating several: roads, weights and measures, post office, patents and copyrights, see U.S. Constitution Article I, Section 8.

    The distortion, nay, bastardization, of the Commerce Clause into something which permits Congress to legislate everything under the sun is a real problem, for the Constitution intended to limit the power of Congress by only making specific delegations to it, and by reserving all other powers and everything else to the states. Without such limitations, the tyranny of the majority occurs regularly, and we get bad laws and infinitely expanding government.

    Tell me that we don’t have a gigantic federal government now. Tell me that we’re not watching said gigantic federal government spend trillions of dollars more than we earn, thereby dooming future generations to debt-slavery. Tell me how this is a Good Thing. You can’t. This is, in fact, a Very Bad Thing, but it will not end as long as you allow the parties in power to simply take turns leeching wealth from the American people.

  144. Greg — Rand wasn’t arguing for corporations that are publicly owned by shareholders. Rand was arguing for small business owners with sole proprietorships. Because Bob owns Bob’s Diner, he’s saying that Bob’s Diner is not a business open to the public, but private property, like Bob’s house, and thus the business is part of Bob and included in his civil rights to free speech. Bob’s employees in his diner don’t have free speech to object to Bob’s discrimination because it’s Bob’s business. Bob can’t murder someone, but he should be able to tell them to go away because the diner is again supposedly not a business open to the public for public commerce in a free market, but private property that is closed to the public. The business may be used as a public forum to promote racial bigotry towards blacks and denounce these citizens, because the business is an extension of Bob. And then the community will supposedly shame Bob and take away his profits so that he’ll renounce his deeply felt, irrational prejudices or go out of business. (Yeah, sure.)

    Essentially, since Bob is a single business owner, Paul’s argument is that he can transfer his civil rights to his property and treat his dinner like it’s an extension of him. Legally, this is impossible. But by taking this stance in at least the local state arena, Paul pleases white Kentuckians who think non-whites get more goodies from the law, and business owners who just basically want nothing standing in the way of their getting short term profits.

    As Charles Lane pointed out, it is not possible to treat a business open to the public as private property and as an extension of the individual owner. To discriminate, a business owner has to enforce the discrimination. Which means either he takes a shotgun and threatens black people and shoots them, which is against the law, or he calls the police to arrest the black customers for trespassing, in which case it becomes public discrimination and tax-payers’ money is being used to enforce it. The black customers’ civil rights are violated, and the tax-payers’ civil rights are violated, etc.

    Elizabeth Bisbee Silber also had intelligent things to say on the subject, re also Paul and BP:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-bisbee-silber/memo-to-rand-paul-free-en_b_585671.html

  145. KIA: some who believe that because they get some of their friends together, they can call a vote and tell you how to use your property

    Yeah, see, anyone who takes Democracy and reduces it to nothing more than some kind of club where members get to tell non-members what they can do, that’s the tyranny of Libertarianism trying to explain how Democracy is the “real” tyranny.

    What democracy requires is a little faith. It requires belief that, over time, good ideas will survive and grow stronger while bad ideas will fade and be forgotten.

    Libertarians have no such faith. They think they have the “perfect” solution. Not only do they have the perfect solution, but everyone else over the last couple of centuries is wrong. They think that Democracy itself is wrong. And the only valid alternative is Libertarian Tyranny of one kind or another.

    this leads folks like Greg to think if they have the votes than it’s just dandy to implement whatever policy drifts across their consciousness without regard to property rights.

    Maybe you should get some of KIA’s faith that good ideas will survive and bad ideas will fade. Seems like that the long view of US history fits that.

    But, please, do tell me what class of property owners have had their rights trampled by the democratic process you call a mob.

    Sausage makers can’t put fecal matter in their product? Racist restaurant owners can’t enforce racism on their customers?

    What terrible tragedy has befallen the class of property owners that demonstrates just how wrong democracy is?

    You are merely a slave of the majority hoping that they do not take notice of you or strip you of your hard-won property.

    What *class* of property owners have been stripped of their hard-won property? If you cannot provide such a real class currently stripped, then by all means, go peddle your over wrought and non factual slippery slope pleading somewhere else.

    htom: Libertarians usually object to the initiation of the use of force; using force to respond to force is acceptable.

    Yeah, that’s the Libertarian Constitution. (1) Congress shall have the power to police violent crimes. (2) And no one may alter the Libertarian Constitution.

    Especially not me and some of my “friends” in some “club” we call democracy.

    KIA: Libertarians do believe in the tragedy of the commons

    No. They don’t. Libertarians say government should have the power to police violent crimes. THAT IS IT. The state is not allowed to police anything which is not violence. That’s the mantra of libertarianism. To allow the government to regulate people making free market choices is always a slippery slope, as Kat demonstrated above, of me and my friends getting together and stripping some poor hapless property owner of their hard-earned property.

    Tell me that we don’t have a gigantic federal government now.

    Like I said, no Libertarian will ever straight up answer my question:

    (1) Does your Libertarian “constitution” have any method for amending it or not? (2) If the majority of people want market regulation, can they have it? (3) Or does the tyranny of libertarianism override the will of the people?

    Kat: Rand was arguing for small business owners with sole proprietorships.

    Business is business. Your sole proprietership doesn’t have a right to speech any more than it has a right to vote.

    The basic flaw here seems to be that libertarians see everything a person does as “private”, even if he’s dealing with the public through his business, corporation, or sole proprietership.

    Once you start dealing with the public, it’s clearly a public matter.

    Libertarians want to portray the government regulating public interactions as if it were thee same thing as going into the business owner’s home and telling him what TV shows to watch.

    It doesn’t matter if its a corp or s corp or sole prop. It matters that the guy is doing business with the public.

  146. It is not my property and I do not and should not have any say in the issue

    Why not? Why are property rights more important than any other kind of right?

    However, there are some who believe that because they get some of their friends together, they can call a vote and tell you how to use your property for the advancement of their agenda, whatever it may be.

    That’s a remarkably silly summary of government.

  147. Greg: can you accept that you don’t have the right to tell me what to do? Adding people to yourself or your position still does not give you the right to tell me what to do nor to compel me to do anything for you or your agenda. Might does not make right.

    Democracy is a problem-solving method for when collective action is absolutely necessary. At that point, we delegate only limited, necessary powers to solve the immediate problem (here’s the tricky part) AND NO MORE. Without limitations upon that power, then we do not have freedom. We would have delegated our entire selves to the government and would be serving in a national socalist state.

    Democracy is not freedom. The bare right to participate in the system is not freedom. The system itself must recognize and protect personal rights and freedoms. It either does or it does not do this. The argument in this thread is about whether people are once again taking a schitzophrenic view: some freedoms must be recognized while others can be taken at will.

    Your point is: total freedom is dysfunctional. Agreed. It is. Nobody is going to argue that some aspects of a society require collective action and that some level of government is necessary and proper. You are confusing libertarianism with anarchy. Libertarianism calls for strictly limited government and maximum (not unlimited) personal freedom.

    You appear to be calling for total state planning and government control. That is a system which has failed over and over again and is antithetical to principles of liberty.

    Finally, while you conspicuously refused to answer my questions about how large and powerful the federal government can become and whether it will spend us into bankruptcy as a nation, I will still answer your question. This is supposed to be a nation of majority rule *with respect for the rights of the minority*. This means that there are some things the majority simply cannot do just because they are a majority. If the majority wanted to, for example, outlaw the republican party, it could probably muster the votes to do that. Would that be proper? Would that be the “right” thing to do? Simply because a majority wants a thing does not mean that it is a proper or legitimate function for government to deliver it. We all surely would like free housing and food for a lifetime without work. That would probably garner a huge majority vote in favor. Can government deliver that? Should it? Government is simply not the proper tool for all solutions and it should not be regarded as such.

  148. Kat: Bob can’t murder someone, but he should be able to tell them to go away because the diner is again supposedly not a business open to the public for public commerce in a free market, but private property that is closed to the public.

    Different Libertarians have different views on this. I’ve spoken to several who sincerely believe that trespassing of any sort is cause for a justifiable homicide defense.

  149. Democracy is a problem-solving method for when collective action is absolutely necessary. At that point, we delegate only limited, necessary powers to solve the immediate problem (here’s the tricky part) AND NO MORE.

    Uh, says who (besides you, I mean)? That’s certainly a defensible definition, but it’s not the only one, nor is it even necessarily the one that the Constitution lays out.

  150. Libertarians don’t want the sort of democracy we’ve got. But the only remedy they can allow themselves is to convince members of the voting public to agree with them, which they’re so incredibly bad at that they’re never going to get anywhere.

    Rand Paul at least isn’t stupid enough to think that “repeal anti-discrimination laws pertaining to public businesses” will get anyone elected. Social contracts require social consensus. Libertarians are about as effective at getting it as left wing communitarian anarchists are.

  151. KIA: can you accept that you don’t have the right to tell me what to do?

    But then you tell the world what to do here:

    Democracy is a problem-solving method for when collective action is absolutely necessary. At that point, we delegate only limited, necessary powers to solve the immediate problem (here’s the tricky part) AND NO MORE.

    There’s your Libertarian Constitution again. This is the way the people MUST behave. It is written in stone. And there will be no negotiation from that silly club of friends to change it. “We the people” be damned.

    whether people are once again taking a schitzophrenic view: some freedoms must be recognized while others can be taken at will.

    Well, if we’re goign to open the floor to psychological comparisons, Libertarianism is essentially obsessive compulsive. There is one rule: the government can police violence, all else is laissez faire. And Libertarians can’t stand anyone messing up their one rule.

    You appear to be calling for total state planning and government control.

    You appear to be committing a logical fallacy called Slippery Slope and/or Strawman.

    I callled for and defened the notion that a democratic state has the moral right to regulate commerce. If you want to address that, fine. If you want to slippery slope it into some nonsensical strawman, then I won’t waste my time.

    you conspicuously refused to answer my questions about how large and powerful the federal government can become and whether it will spend us into bankruptcy as a nation

    Because its a nonsequitor and you’ve yet to establish how it has anything to do with the moral right of a democratic government to regulate commerce. Non causa pro causa, I believe, is the term.

    I will still answer your question.

    No. You didn’t. There were three questions, all related to one another. And more importantly all of them were numbered. You didn’t answer my questions. You just gave me a piece of the standard Libertarian shpeel.

    The libertarian “constitution” says the governmetn has the moral right to police violent crimes but that individuals who are not using direct physical coercion must be completely free from state regulation, intervention, and so on.

    (1) Does your Libertarian “constitution” have any method for amending it or not? (2) If the majority of people want market regulation, can they have it? (3) Or does the tyranny of libertarianism override the will of the people?

    We all surely would like free housing and food for a lifetime without work. That would probably garner a huge majority vote in favor.

    This is standard Libertarian mythology. It’s based on a variation of the old story about the Ants and the Grasshopper. The difference is that Libertarians write themselves into the story as the hard working ants, and cast everyone else as a bunch of lazy grasshoppers. But in the Libertarian version teh grasshoppers have gotten control of the government and use their majority rule to force the ants to be their slave labor while the grasshoppers sit around and do nothing but eat.

    In the third act of the Libertarian story, the ants rise up and throw off the shackles of these lazy grasshoppers. The ants produce for themselves and the grasshoppers starve to death in the winter. Hooray!

    Or the ants go “John Galt” on the world, the lazy grasshoppers starve to death through the winter without the ants, and the ants live happily ever after in a Objectivist world. Hooray!

    can you accept that you don’t have the right to tell me what to do?

    This probably reflects the fundamental problem with Libertarian thinking.

    I can’t tell you what to do, but the State (through me and the rest of “we the people”) can.

    Libertarians don’t see “we the people” as anything other than lazy grasshoppers forcing the ants into slave labor.

    I can’t tell you what to do. But the State, acting through the people, can.

    But to quote the mother of Libertarians, there is no such thing as society. The state is nothing but lazy grasshoppers.

    So, of course, when I say the state has the moral right to regulate commerce, you come back with the retort that I can’t tell you what to do. It’s like the State as an entity doesn’t exist for you.

    And that right there is the fundamental flaw of libertarianism.

  152. Rand Paul has apparently insisted that he’s not a libertarian and the Kentucky libertarians apparently hate his guts. So I guess he’s just a standard Tea Party style far righter. And indeed, while he borrows some of his father’s rhetoric, on race and otherwise, he is pretty much the standard far right candidate.

  153. KIA –

    “This is supposed to be a nation of majority rule *with respect for the rights of the minority*. This means that there are some things the majority simply cannot do just because they are a majority.”

    …and so was born the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Well argued.

  154. “It’s like the State as an entity doesn’t exist for you.”

    There is no state without the people. Notice how you capitalize the term? You worship it as though it was an entity. It is not an entity. It has no existence. It is a device for regulating the interaction of people. In many instances it is a device for controlling people rather than simply providing a benign framework for interaction. This is the problem. The “state” has no greater moral right than any of its individual components and should not have the right to control people. Of course there are many such as yourself who want it to be so, but wanting it or demanding it does not make it true. It is a violation of logic and sensibility to assert that a collective gains more rights than people had to give it in the first place, but that appears to be your position.

    Your claims about my claims are specious. I am not telling anyone what to do. Why? Because I do not have domain over you and you do not have domain over me. If I can convince you to voluntarily adopt a course of conduct, great. If I want to tell you to get lost, that is my right also.

    It is only through your insistence on a device called the state that you can posit a way to force me to do anything.

    The point here is that you are supporting coercion and the use of force. You are supporting its’ use to compel your viewpoint and your agenda. Our differences are solely ones of degree. I say: only certain powers were delegated to the government and it should be held to those limits. You say, with no support whatsoever, that the state can do as it pleases.

    I, and others like me, want no part of you, your agenda or your ignorance. No, there is no negotiation. Neither I nor anyone else ever delegated you or your club the right to tell me how to live or how my money must be spent or how my property must be used. Your refusal to honor rules of debate, logic and rationality only divides us further and hastens the day when the error of your ways will catch up to you.

  155. @ other Bill

    “…and so was born the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Well argued.”

    No, that Act traded one set of violations for another. There were ways in which the social and political rights of minorities could have been protected and enforced without stripping other people of their property rights. It was simply a dramatic gesture backed by the police power of the state which was aimed at cowing the populace. In this respect it succeeded in its noble goal through ignoble means.

    By the way – almost forgot. Where in the Constitution is a federal police force authorized?

  156. KIA – I, and others like me, want no part of you, your agenda or your ignorance. No, there is no negotiation. Neither I nor anyone else ever delegated you or your club the right to tell me how to live or how my money must be spent or how my property must be used.

    Sure you did. It’s a participatory democracy, you vote to stay here by staying here. If you vote against staying here, leaving is an option. This isn’t North Korea, Berlin before the wall fell, Soviet Russia or anywhere like that. If you can convince another country to take you in, you have the absolute freedom to leave.

    Or you can go bugnut revolutionary.

    Or, you can convince enough people to change their views. But personally, I think you’re about as convincing as a potted meat, peanut butter and marmite sandwich.

    And you’re clearly not trying to convince anyone who dissagres. Someone argues against you, and they’re not a target for conversion, they’re the enemy. That’s not a tactic, it’s a tantrum. The “you” you have no use for is the majority of America. The people you claim that the state is made up of.

    Your problem is that your views just aren’t popular, and you’re not capable of convincing enough people they’re valid. I’d have some sympathy, but you also lack manners enough to generate that from me.

  157. KIA –

    “There were ways in which the social and political rights of minorities could have been protected and enforced without stripping other people of their property rights.”

    So, wihout stripping the right of business owners to rely on the police to support their collusion with other businesses to freeze out the ability for blacks to puchase anything in a city so as to prevent them from living there, the rights of minorities could have been protected?

    Well, let you count the ways that could be so.

    “I, and others like me, want no part of you, your agenda or your ignorance. No, there is no negotiation. Neither I nor anyone else ever delegated you or your club the right to tell me how to live or how my money must be spent or how my property must be used. Your refusal to honor rules of debate, logic and rationality only divides us further and hastens the day when the error of your ways will catch up to you.”

    This is nonsense. Basically just a big kvetch about how taxes function. Well, that’s how it works in America. In a democracy. You are part of a society. As part of this society, whether or not you choose to acknowledge you are is irrelevant, you baldly state that it shall be your way.

    Or else what? You’ll break up with America? Or you’ll institute a tyranny of the minority to finish the battle democracy started with you and yours? You’re just as welcome to leave as you are to come out of your outdated ideological fallout shelter and play with the rest of the cool kids.

  158. Greg — you seem to think that initiating the use of violence is something that you approve of? By an individual, a group, the State, all? With or without a court’s prior approval? With or without effective warning?

  159. KIA: There is no state without the people. Notice how you capitalize the term? You worship it

    That’s what she said.

    , your agenda or your ignorance.

    all your base are belong to us.

    Our differences are solely ones of degree. I say: only certain powers were delegated to the government and it should be held to those limits. You say, with no support whatsoever, that the state can do as it pleases.

    Actually, our difference is more fundamental than that.

    See, I support a constitutional democracy where the democracy can, with sufficient support, modify the constitution. This requires a couple of different things of me. First, it requires that I have a little faith in the people that they won’t pass some amendment forcing all the ants to work to feed the lazy grasshoppers. Second, it requires that I be willing to acknowledge that my views, my morality, my sense of right and wrong, isn’t something I enforce on the rest of the population. We as a people adopt the constitution with certain rules and rights and powers to the state, but we as a people can also modify it. And most importantly, it means that I’m willing to let the we the people do something I don’t personally agree with if we the people came to that result.

    You, on the other hand, refuse to answer my question which points directly to our fundamental difference. Because you don’t believe in constitutional democracy. You believe in a democracy that has your sense of right and wrong, your morality, and your view of government power, imposed on it. The people have spoken for the last couple of centuries and they want the state to regulate more than physical violence. They have a constitution and a history of law and court cases and a due process that has come to that result.

    You want to remove certain things from due process, like the ability for the state to regulate commerce.

    It’s not a matter of degrees here. I have a general faith that people will, over time, find the right answer. I acknowledge that I personally may be wrong now, but the people over time will tend closer and closer to good law.

    You don’t trust people at all. You think they’ll take their power of democracy and turn it into mob rule. You think they’re all a bunch of lazy grasshoppers forcing the ants to work for them and feed them.

    So, given that fear, what you’ve done is develop a Libertarian Tyranny where you have written in stone a number of things that those lazy grasshoppers are not allowed to do. They can use the State to police violence, but nothing else. And they can’t modify this “constitution” of yours, becuase if they could, you would acknowledge the fact that they already did and that your worldview isn’t the view of the world.

    Whereas I see “we the people” as something meaning that I may end up having to do some things that I don’t particularly like, you appear to think that government should never ever in any way ever make you do anything that you don’t want to.

    htom: you seem to think that initiating the use of violence is something that you approve of?

    if you’re gonna strawman, at least strawman something good

  160. You can have property rights without government regulating commerce through the simple expedient of becoming a powerful-enough warlord to enforce your will. Might may not make right, but it does compel obedience.

  161. I’m still trying to figure out how you have property rights without government regulating commerce

    I’m still trying to figure out why property rights are privileged over all other rights. KIA’s been avoiding that one…

  162. ya know, something just clicked. We were talking about whether the State can regulate commerce, and KIA said this:

    can you accept that you don’t have the right to tell me what to do?

    I try to explain that there is a difference between me telling him what to do and the State telling him what to do, at least a State based on constitutional democracy. KIA responded:

    Notice how you capitalize the term (the State)? You worship it as though it was an entity. It is not an entity. It has no existence.

    The shorter version of this nugget is Thatcher’s: “There is no such thing as society.” nonsense.

    But it exemplifies the basic problem of Libertarianism[1]. Libertarians don’t see the state as anything different than some random individual telling them what to do. It could be Earl’s Warlord in #167, or a gang of lazy grasshoppers, or anything else, but the one thing the State is not in the mind of a Libertarian is legitimate if it demands the Libertarian do anything they don’t want to do, or if it demands the Libertarian NOT do anything the Libertarian WANTS to do.

    Most rational people get that the State has some semblence of legitimacy to the point that it can tell its citizens what to do, at least in a Constitutional Democracy, because at least in a Constitutional Democracy, the State is supposed to be on some level a reflection of the will of the people.

    Libertarians have a much simpler view of what is right and wrong. It is “right” for them to do whatever they want. It is “wrong” for anyone else to tell them otherwise. This instantly fails the “what if the thing I want to do is murder someone?” test, so Libertarians come up with some absolute, non-negotiable morality, written in stone and handed down from the mountain, “Physical Violence is Wrong” they say, “all else is OK”.

    They want this morality written in stone because they’re willing to accept that it is immoral and the State has the power to enforce that, but they’re unwilling to bend on anything else. If they want to do it, and it isn’t violence, it is “right”. Telling them otherwise is “wrong”.

    Cue KIA: can you accept that you don’t have the right to tell me what to do?

    The State has no more legitmacy to a Libertarian than some random dude off the street. The State can’t tell a Libertarian what to do any more than some random dude can tell them what to do. The basic morality of Libertarianism is “Right is what I want”. Because that fails basic common sense, they generally add “Physical violence is Wrong” on top of it.

    Try talking to a libertarian about how the State, at least one based on a Constitutional Democracy derives its authority from the people and therefore has some legitimacy to police its citizens based on what its citizens have decided, and you get KIA #2:

    You worship it as though it was an entity. It is not an entity. It has no existence.

    Libertarians refuse to grant the State any different status from any single randomly picked individual off the street.

    At which point, I just realized why Libertarians never answer my basic question about their “Libertarian Constitution” and whether it is ammendable. It’s because they don’t really have a Constitution. You need a Constitution to form a State. Libertarians view the State as nothing but some guys off the street. And Libertarians have the same set of rules for random guy off the street as they do for whatever entity we know as State:

    You (individual or State) have no right to tell them what to do. Except physical violence is bad, so policing that is OK. But all else is off limit, immoral, and wrong.

    My question to Libertarians has always been “Is your Libertarian Constitution Ammendable?”

    And I just realized that they don’t understand the concept of how a Constitution creates (or constitutes) the State. All they have is that one rule that applies to everyone whether they’re individual or individuals working for the State: Don’t tell me what to do (unless you’re policing physical violence).

    [1] notice how I capitalize Libertarianism but do not worship it).

  163. Earl: “You can have property rights without government regulating commerce through the simple expedient of becoming a powerful-enough warlord to enforce your will. Might may not make right, but it does compel obedience.”

    Yeah, that’s how we had it up until about the later part of the 1600’s, and then it gradually changed, but only in some parts of the world. But even when it was warlords (feudal,) the warlords (business) were the government and regulated commerce through force and other means. Because the State is the execution of law, whether it be the law of sheer military force or the law of democracy for the people. It sets the laws, regulations, procedures, currency, monetary values, enforcement, protects the rights of either the ruling class or specified groups or individual citizens depending on the system used, and provides services, including the service of regulating commerce.

    What happened as industrialization continued is that business, instead of also being government, started to use proxies (politicians) and the people (which includes the people as workers,) through rebellions, protests, movements, etc., started carving out more government as serving the people, not just business. And in the U.S., they made a very clear separation of business and government, created the constitution mostly focused on the rights of the people, not business, and set up the triangle you have in democracies — business, government and the people, which serve as checks and balances to each other.
    And one of the main ways that works is that government backs up both business and the people in their acquiring of property and wealth, protecting both buyers and sellers (albeit sometimes unsuccessfully,) from screwing each other through government regulation/law that is then enforced by government cops and courts.

    So if I’m buying a house, the government is in there from the beginning, regulating what the seller has to have as proof of ownership, including the deed to the property which is a government document, and right through all the terms of the contract of sale and of my taking ownership. And that way, someone cannot say that they’ll sell me the house, take my money and then tell me the sale wasn’t legitimate and I don’t own the house. I can prove through the government’s regulations that I do. Essentially, the government regulations keep business running, put obstacles to fraud occurring, and hopefully avoid the need for government force, but it’s there through cops and the courts if needed on disputes. (As opposed to people shooting each other and taking each other’s land, which was the main system up until again about the 1600’s and still is in parts of the world.)

    There is no inalienable civil right to own property. And if you own property, you don’t get extra civil rights in a democracy as an individual than other citizens who don’t own property or as much property. So we have Kia saying you don’t get to tell me what to do, and I don’t think libertarian concerns about too much State control are entirely invalid. But my problem is that libertarians talk about individual rights and they don’t actually care about individual rights. They’re not protesting Arizona’s government telling U.S. citizens what they can do by having to prove their citizenship, for instance. They argue instead for subverting individual rights (backed by the State,) in favor of rights to the property owner and the property owner having additional rights to control non-property owning citizens, such as restricting access in a public business. Again, they want to return to feudalism (warlords,) circa the Victorian era version, with the government as the enforcement arm of the property owners (business) against the people, instead of the property owners having to be warlords themselves.

    But even if we dump that ideologically pure feudalism version of libertarianism and just go with really small government that provides services (without getting taxes to pay for all of them apparently,) and prevents warlord actions of force, which would then include the bigoted cafe owner, then that’s still going to be government regulating commerce, and not just weights and measures. This idea that you can sort of cut out government involvement in commerce operating is the part that I find to be magical thinking. If government is not regulating commerce, then not only don’t you have individual rights, but you can’t have property rights, because the only way you hold property in a country is because you either keep it by force, or the government agrees that you hold it and will back you by regulation, courts, etc.

    So a concern of libertarianism is that government will come and take their property — that government will break away from the triangle and ignore both business and the people to take everything over (communism.) Which I agree doesn’t work. But their solution, that we return to business breaking away from the triangle and ignoring both the government and the people, to become a warlord government that controls government force — and ejects the black man from the diner — doesn’t work either.

  164. Kat Goodwin @166

    I’m still trying to figure out how you have property rights without government regulating commerce.

    To which government are you referring?

    You understand that the Constitution only authorizes the Federal Government to regulate Interstate commerce. This is done for obvious reasons since the State is responsible for regulating commerce within it’s jurisdiction.

    So I’m not sure that you are not conflating the two thoughts: private property and regulating commerce.

    The fact is that the Framers considered property rights as as a natural right pre-existing governments. As such no less than six of the original 10 amendments deal either directly or indirectly with property rights with the 5th amendment being the most explicit: stating that individuals can not be deprived of their life, liberty or property without due process of law.

    slibey @168

    I’m still trying to figure out why property rights are privileged over all other rights

    It is not privledged above all other rights. It is equal with all other rights in the Bill of Rights.

    You can not be deprived of your life, your liberty or your property without due process of law.

    And very soon, your right to bear arms will be included in the liberty part of that.

  165. If government is not regulating commerce, then not only don’t you have individual rights, but you can’t have property rights

    I think the libertarian line of thinking is that basically everything is a right unless explicitely forbidden. And the only thing they explicitely forbid is physical violence.

    Something tells me they wouldn’t mind the existence of a registry of deeds to keep track of who owns what piece of property. Because the RoD isn’t telling them what to do, just keeping track of who owns what. And who owns what is determined by the owner choosing to sell to the buyer and the buyer choosing to buy from the seller.

    It works in theory right up until you get some non-private property, like, say, the Gulf of Mexico, the oceans, the atmosphere, drinkable water, and such. Then god help you if your State passes a law that prevents some libertarian private property owner from dumping arsenic into the well he dug on his own property if he wants to. (see coal mining operations, for a real world example of this).

    It also works in theory right up into you leave your property. The owner of a diner who happens to be racist, could be perfectly fine being racist, so long as he’s racist in his own home. But if he owns a diner, then he’s not just a private property owner, he’s interacting with the public at large. And once you’re dealing with public interactions, the governmetn has some moral standing to regulate it to make sure everyone plays fair. But libertarians consider government regulation of a diner to be absolutely no different than government regulation of what you do in the privacy fo your own home.

    Libertarians generally can’t see the “State” as anything other than individuals, and they can’t see “public” as anything other than individuals.

    The state telling them what to do is no different than some random person off the street telling them what to do. And they don’t see “public” the way Thatcher said there’s no such thing as society. It’s all private transactions in their mind.

    Pychologically speaking, it is a worldview entirely consistent with a complete lack of empathy.

    In fact, a Libertarian’s version of compassion is indifference. If you have a completely unregulated market, they say it’ll find the best, most efficient, and ideal solution. Everyone has exactly the same opportunities in an unregulated market according to Libertarian mythology, and anyone who hungers in an unregulated market is hungry because they’re lazy (lazy grasshoppers).

    Libertarians are completely indifferent to other humans and at the same time, they’ve convinced themselves that everyone will somehow magically be taken care of through systemic indifference.

    The thing that I’m curious about is whether they know they’re indifferent and tell themselves that indifference will take care of everyone, as a way to avoid feeling any sort of guilt for being indifferent, or if they’re indifferent and so come up with some mythological moralization so that in their mind their indifference just happens to be the absolute best way a planet should be run.

    Libertarianism is sort of the Mary Sue of political parties. It’s all about them and how their idea will save the world if the rest of us morons (and lazy grasshoppers) would just listen to their wisdom.

  166. Frank: You can not be deprived of your life, your liberty or your property without due process of law.

    Doesn’t that mean that the State can regulate someone’s liberty so long as they follow due process?

    Isn’t regulation part of due process? Like passing a law saying a business can’t be racist in the people it hires or the customers it serves? Doesn’t that deprive a racist property owner of some “liberty” to be racist?

    And if that law is arrived at via due process, doesn’t that mean it is legitimate?

  167. Greg

    And if that law is arrived at via due process, doesn’t that mean it is legitimate?

    I’m thinking that you do not understand “due process”. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding you. To determine which, let me pose a question:

    Is it your contention that a state could pass a law depriving everyone in the state of their private property and that would be “due process”?

  168. It is not privledged above all other rights.

    I wasn’t asking about the Constitution. I was asking a libertarian why he/she privileged property rights above all others.

    If you’re a libertarian, then perhaps you can explain.

  169. Is it your contention that a state could pass a law depriving everyone in the state of their private property and that would be “due process”?

    Oh, man, those lazy grasshoppers are at it again, aren’t they?

    I like how when dealing with Libertarians, I have to almost always deal with hypothetical slippery sloped strawmen of such extreme absurdity that Adolph Hitler seems centrist by comparison.

    What I mean by due process is the three branches of government, the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution to make try and keep the government representative of the people, that those three branches all concur that what is being done is legal, consitutional, fundamentally moral, and a reflection of the will of the people, not an abuse of someone in power.

    To me, that is due process.

    Just because congress passes a law, is not enough. Just because the president signs it into law is not enough. It then has to survive challenge in the courts. And hopefully, all of it is based on a historical evolution of wherever we the people are standing.

    To use a real world example, I’d point to slavery. Some of the founding fathers owned slaves. Slavery was written into the constitution by counting slaves as less than a whole person. But since then a lot has changed in how “we the people” view slavery and racism. And if “we the people” come to the realization that racism is the last dying breath of the evil that was slavery and deserves to be stamped out in public interactions, if laws are passed to support that notion, if the president signs those laws, and if the courts find that the laws are just and constitutional and so on, then, hell yes, I would call that due process.

    Libertarian arguments often only survive in the extreme conditions one can only find in hypothetical nonsense.

    You’re situation is no more realistic than some neo-conservative making they hypothetical “ticking time bomb” argument, and asking if maybe then would I support torturing prisoners for information.

    You want to argue for Libertarian thought being applicable to the real world, today’s world, in America? Then you have to show how Libertarian thought addresses real problems in America, and how Libertarian thought provides some sort of solution to some real world problem that conservative, liberal, progressive, and (insert any other political ideology here) does not provide.

    If the only thing Libertarianism solves is this hypothetical “lazy grasshoppers use the State to enslave ants” nonsense, then you’re not really showing how Libertarian thought has any real world use, are you?

    It reminds me of some debates I had back in my much younger days with people about US military operations, and the pro-war guy I would be talking with would invariably take the real world situation of invading Kuwait, or Iraq, or Somalia, or Lebanon, or Libya, or whoever ticked us off at the moment, and turn it into some absurd hypothetical about use of force, like what if you had some neo nazi organization who hijacked a church and had a nun at gunpoint, would you approve the use of force then?

    Doesn’t really apply to whether or not it makes political, military, or moral sense to send military hardware to Iraq so they don’t lose the Iran/Iraq war, does it?

    And I get there’s a difference between talking about principles versus talking about extreme, make believe, hypotheticals. If you want to talk about Libertarian principles, fine. Just keep it grounded in the real world.

    If Libertarianism only makes sense in fairy-tale land, that should be a red flag as to the validity of its idealogy, don’t you think?

  170. Frank: “To which government are you referring?

    You understand that the Constitution only authorizes the Federal Government to regulate Interstate commerce. This is done for obvious reasons since the State is responsible for regulating commerce within it’s jurisdiction.”

    Seriously, that’s what you’re going for, that the State governments operate in their own little vacuum in regulating commerce? They don’t and it would be impossible for them to do so. The state governments and the federal government work together to regulate commerce. If you are going to argue that state government is not the State, not government, then there’s no point in my going further in the conversation. Government regulates commerce and state governments have to comply with civil rights in the federal Constitution and federal laws and regulations. And if you are saying that the federal government should dump more duties on to the struggling state governments, then businesses and people will have to pay for it and it will still be government regulation.

    “So I’m not sure that you are not conflating the two thoughts: private property and regulating commerce.”

    Yes, because you can’t have one without the other. That was my point. Whether you want to argue that it’s the state government that regulates it or the federal (when it’s actually both,) you can’t buy something and be certain that the deal will go through unless you can enforce it by force or enforce it by government regulation. In our democracy, we use government regulation of business instead of individuals and businesses using force for business. If we did have a system where business and individuals used force to make business deals — as we used to have — that’s still a form of government regulation, with business also being the government. In any political system — fascist, communist, socialist, democratic, dictatorship, landed nobles, etc. — you can’t acquire property without government regulation (unless possibly you are out in the desert with no one else around for thousands of miles.)

    “The fact is that the Framers considered property rights as as a natural right pre-existing governments. As such no less than six of the original 10 amendments deal either directly or indirectly with property rights with the 5th amendment being the most explicit: stating that individuals can not be deprived of their life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

    There is nothing pre-existing governments. The founders had a government and built a new government, and at all times that government involved regulation of trade. It’s just that they went from feudal regulation to democratic regulation. To be stripped of property, you have to acquire property (which requires government regulation,) and legally prove that it is your property (which requires government regulation.) I can stand on a piece of land and plant a flag that says it’s mine, but as Eddie Izzard pointed out, that doesn’t make it mine. (Especially when the Native American thought it was his.) But government regulation helps make it mine, and government regulation protects it from being stripped away without legal cause.

    But while I have the civil right that the government — or any other entity including business — cannot take what the government says is indeed mine without legal grounds (law provided by the government,) I don’t have a guaranteed civil right to ACQUIRE property. The state does not have to make me a property owner. Property is not automatically given to me. If I want to acquire property, I have to engage in business, and if I engage in business that is legal, then that business follows government regulation.

  171. I’m awarding Kat 5 points for the Eddie Izzard reference.

    ;)

    I think Shorter Frank might be summed up as:

    “The fifty states are not the State.”

    Or something. Slightly longer might be:

    “The evil State that is the Federal Government does not have the right to regulate commerce. That is a power left to the states, which are not evil States, just one of fifty states”.

    Wait, now I’m confused. Do we capitalize “State” when referring to government or when referring to one of the fifty states? Or is it only if we worship said State?

  172. silbey @176

    I wasn’t asking about the Constitution. I was asking a libertarian why he/she privileged property rights above all others.

    If you’re a libertarian, then perhaps you can explain.

    I would call myself someone with libertarian leanings, and while I can not speak for others I would say that my sense of the discussion is that property rights has been introduced as being germane to the defense of the statements by Rand Paul under discussion; not that it is considered by Libertarians as above all other rights.

    Greg @177

    What I mean by due process is the three branches of government, the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution to make try and keep the government representative of the people, that those three branches all concur that what is being done is legal, consitutional, fundamentally moral, and a reflection of the will of the people, not an abuse of someone in power.

    To me, that is due process.

    Long winded, but I’ll take that as a “no”.

    But it also seems you have the “due process” concept backwards: due process is inteded to protect individuals and coporate “persons” from the government. Due process is not a process of the government. Due process is intended to shield protected persons from legislative actions as much as it does from executive or judicial actions.

    Kat Goodwin @179

    Whether you want to argue that it’s the state government that regulates it or the federal (when it’s actually both,) you can’t buy something and be certain that the deal will go through unless you can enforce it by force or enforce it by government regulation.

    Peace. I agree with you.

    But no one is arguing that Government should be eliminated nor that it does not have a place.

    The question is not whether or not government, it is how much government.

    And that is the question we have historically dealt with: the balance between personal liberty and the needs of the society in general. You yourself have some line across which you would decide that too much personal liberty has been lost. Everyone has that. And elections basically sum that and come up with a rough average.

    True a Libertarian position is hard over on the personal liberty end, but people like Senator Sanders are hard over on the statist end. (personally I don’t see how an anti-abortion or an anti-gay stance is consistent with Liberarian values but hey, what do I know?)

    I see no harm in having a voice in congress pushing towards more individual liberty to balance out the voices of corporatism.

  173. I find the Libertarian talking point that they “balance out the voices of corporatism” to be specious. Most corporations would love to live in a libertarian world because it would mean a lack or regulation, a lack of wage regulation, a lack of tax contributions to things like workman’s compensation or unemployment insurance. And so on.

    Is it just me or is the libertarian rhetoric against corporatism specious? I mean, what does it mean that they’re fighting against it? It sounds to me like it’s trying to tap into anger at big banks for screwing up the economy, but ducking the questions about how a lack or regulation and oversight led to the “too big to fail” concept.

    Or are libertarians maintaining that allowing massive bank failures would have been the correct response? Would libertarians also have done away with the FDIC as well? Because that would have been just awesome. America could have gone form prosperous reality to Mad Max fantasy in a matter of months.

  174. I find the Libertarian talking point that they “balance out the voices of corporatism” to be specious. Most corporations would love to live in a libertarian world because it would mean a lack or regulation, a lack of wage regulation, a lack of tax contributions to things like workman’s compensation or unemployment insurance.

    corporatism: Of, relating to, or being a corporative state or system.

    Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state.

    aka fascism.

  175. is that property rights has been introduced as being germane to the defense of the statements by Rand Paul under discussion; not that it is considered by Libertarians as above all other rights.

    And the immediate follow-on question–which no one has answered–is why are property rights privileged above civil rights? I.E. Rand Paul and those defending him argue that the right of someone to decide who comes into their restaurant trumps the right of equal access.

    Why?

  176. Frank – corporatism: Of, relating to, or being a corporative state or system.

    Theory and practice of organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state.

    aka fascism.

    So how is libertarianism going to protect us from that? I can see a “no bailouts” policy doing one thing, but on the other hand, if you have no regulations about requiring employees to vote a certain way or donate to a political party, and so on, you have just as much danger. I can see a libertarian future ending up looking close to Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash America.

  177. Frank: Long winded, but I’ll take that as a “no”.

    I didn’t say that. I refused to answer the question specifically because the fear of the the US Federal government taking everyone’s private property to justify Libertarianism is as moronic as neocon hypotheticals about “ticking time bombs” to justify torture.

    You’re forwarding the equivalent of Fox’s “24” show, but with Libertarian propaganda, instead of neocon propaganda.

    So, not “no”, but rather “the question is a fairy tale and unworthy of an answer”.

    due process is inteded to protect individuals and coporate “persons” from the government. Due process is not a process of the government.

    uhm, if due process isn’t a State process, then I don’t know who would be doing the process. But maybe Libertarians hate the State so much that they can’t let it be an entity (as asserted by KIA) so maybe they can’t let it have a process either.

    But no one is arguing that Government should be eliminated nor that it does not have a place.

    Nonsense. KIA argued exactly that @153 when he said “you don’t have the right to tell me what to do. Adding people to yourself or your position still does not give you the right to tell me what to do”.

    I didn’t see you jump in and correct him by telling him the State, or at least a Constitutional Democratic State, has legitmate moral authority to tell people what to do.

    Libertarians cannot simultaneously argue that that State has a “place”, has some legitimate moral authorty to tell people what to do, while at the same time arguing that it doesn’t have the moral authority to tell them what to do.

    Well, they can, it’s just hypocritical.

    The question is not whether or not government, it is how much government.

    Oh, that’s just libertarian spin trying to present itself as anything but the extreme “Don’t tell me what to do!” shout that it is.

    The standard Libertarian battle cry is the government has no right to tell me what to do. This is also the standard battle cry of anarchists, so Libertarians try to spin themselves slightly less insane by saying the Government has some sort of “right” to police violent crimes. But anything else is just a mob of grasshoppers telling them what to do, and therefore immoral.

    Or, to quote KIA@147: You are merely a slave of the majority hoping that they do not take notice of you or strip you of your hard-won property

    Doesn’t sound like government has a moral basis there.

    Or KIA@138: people continue to think that government, which has universally failed in every instance throughout history, can somehow get it right this time

    Doesn’t sound like government has any moral basis there either. Seems pretty clear to me. Maybe you see some abiguity?

    Or KIA @142: you would not tolerate such action against *your* property while still suppporting legislative and administrative oversight on the usage of *other people’s* personal property.

    Government is nothing but lazy grasshoppers enslaving the hard working ants to do their bidding. Mob rule.

    Or KIA@147: there are some who believe that because they get some of their friends together, they can call a vote and tell you how to use your property for the advancement of their agenda, whatever it may be. … The Civil Rights Act did precisely that in any number of respects.

    Doesn’t sound like any moral legitimacy to government action there. Maybe well intentioned?

    But then KIA@147 again: That is tyranny, the tyranny of the majority, and it has no respect for any rights or freedoms.

    No, that seems to be pretty clear. It’s immoral.

    Is there any moral standing to the federal governmetn?

    KIA@149: the role of government should be sharply limited to such issues, and that the framers did a fine job of enumerating several: roads, weights and measures, post office, patents and copyrights

    So it would seem that the Federal government only has the moral authority to regulate the things specifically enumerated in the constitution, and any further interpretation of powers is immoral and unfounded.

    And yet, those very same powers of regulation can be exercised at the state (small ‘s’) level, on what moral basis, I have no idea.

    And in case there is any ambiguity whatsoever, KIA clarifies here: KIA@160: The “state” has no greater moral right than any of its individual components and should not have the right to control people.

    Read that carefully. The STATE HAS NO MORE MORAL RIGHT TO REGULATE THAN ANY INDIVIDUAL PERSON.

    That, to me, is about as clear as you can get: the State has no more moral authority to tell me what to do than any random person off the street.

    It may be that you consider yourself libertarian “leaning” so you don’t hold all the views of libertarians. But you cannot say that *no* libertarian has argued that the State as an idea has no moral standing at all.

  178. Josh: what does it mean that they’re fighting against it?

    Libertarianism only makes sense when fighting against hypothetical fairy tales like a Federal government who is going to come in and take all your private property and give it to all the unemployed illegal aliens.

    There is no *real* issue that Libertarianism solves that cannot more easily and readily be solved by other political ideas.

    Libertarianism solves the fairy tale “Greedy Grasshopper” problem to justify its existence.

    Which is sort of like how Neoconservativism solves the “ticking time bomb” fairy tale to justify it’s stance on torture.

    The only thing Libertarianism is fighting against is that which isn’t real.

    silbey: why are property rights privileged above civil rights

    See, civil rights don’t actually exist in the Libertarian worldview. The only right that exists is the right that you can do whatever you want so long as it isn’t physical violence.

    If you want to segregate customers based on race, that’s your right. The government can’t tell you NOT to do that. And while a Libertarian may admit that racism is wrong, they will tell you that the proper and moral solution is to get all the customers to boycott the store.

    KIA@153 sums up the thought process pretty well: Democracy is a problem-solving method for when collective action is absolutely necessary. At that point, we delegate only limited, necessary powers to solve the immediate problem (here’s the tricky part) AND NO MORE. Without limitations upon that power, then we do not have freedom. We would have delegated our entire selves to the government and would be serving in a national socalist state

    Without limitations on State power, we are slaves to the State.

    It doesn’t even require that the State exercise or abuse that power. It doesn’t require the State actually, you know, enslave us. The Libertarian view is that as soon as you allow that the State has the potential to do whatever the people want, then it instantly enslaves us all and becomes mob rule.

    So, while Libertarians will say that racism is wrong, they will insist that the instant the Government can force a business owner from segregating his customers, as soon as you do that, the government becomes evil and we’re all slaves to its will.

    So, it’s not that Libertarians are saying property rights are more important than civil rights. Not really. What they’re saying is that the very real damage caused by slavery or racism or segregation or civil rights abuses, that damage is less than the hypothetical damage that could result from allowing the state the power to regulate said commercial segregation.

    Which brings us back to the main issue of Libertarianism: it can only justify itself based on hypothetical situations.

    As soon as you allow the State to outlaw segregated diners, you instantly allow the state to hypothetically confiscate everyone’s private property and give it to lazy illegal aliens. Instantly and Irrevocably.

    And in the minds of a Libertarian, the evil of a hypothetical property grab is far greater than the evil of very real racism.

  179. The only right that exists is the right that you can do whatever you want so long as it isn’t physical violence.

    But then they wouldn’t say that you could restrict someone from your restaurant. No, they believe in the property right (“I own this; I may do as I wish with it”). I’m trying to figure out why.

  180. Well no, personal liberty and the needs of the society are not automatically two different things that need to be endlessly balanced against each other. The needs of the democratic society are to protect individual civil rights. Sanders is for personal liberty and civil rights and having the society serve those. Libertarians have no interest in personal liberty at all, from what they say, despite their name. This is why they are very confusing. :)

    A business is a legal construct regarding transactions of buying and selling in the public sphere of commerce. It is not a possession, like a house or a boat, although businesses sell possessions. It is also not a person, an individual with civil rights such as personal liberty and is not an extension of an individual endowed with that person’s civil rights. It cannot be used as a weapon to prevent another citizen’s civil rights and liberty, because a seller does not have more rights over access to the market than buyers do.

    So Bob can, as an individual with free speech, say nasty things about black people. He has a private residence — a possession — and he can keep black people out of it. But if Bob decides to sell his house, then he creates the business of selling his house into the public sphere. That business is not a possession, it’s commerce and the house could be bought by someone from another state or even outside the country, so it is interstate commerce and international commerce. So Bob can keep black people out of his house, but if he creates a business to sell it in the public sphere of commerce, he cannot keep black people from buying it in the market. He cannot keep them from access to the market and acquiring property under legal means in that market because he does not have more rights than they do to control the marketplace just because he’s the seller.

    Likewise, Bob has a diner (in a building he may or may not own,) which is a business (legal construct,) open to the public in the public sphere of commerce. It is not the same thing as his house, a possession. Bob’s customers may be from out of state, etc. (interstate commerce which is regulated by the federal government.) The black customer may be from out of state. Bob cannot engage in restraint of trade and deny the black customer’s access to public trade and right to acquire property — food — by legal means. To do so strips the black customer of his personal liberty, his civil rights. If Bob refuses the customer on the basis of his race, he is using force, whether he backs it up with a gun or not, and breaking the law. Further, since government-run diners can’t discriminate, Bob is further causing restraint of trade in the public sphere of commerce and undermining the free market. The business cannot have more rights than individual citizens, and a seller cannot restrict the free market, especially to deprive others in the market of their civil rights. The government regulation of our democratic society is to protect the civil rights of both buyers and sellers in the public sphere, not the business (which has no civil rights,) over the civil rights of citizens. Businesses don’t get to control the market at the expense of personal liberty.

    Now some Libertarians seem to understand this, but a lot of others seem to want to insist that a business is the same as a possession, which may be why they are against corporatism. They in fact want to claim an awful lot of stuff as personal private property that isn’t actual private property, and at the expense of the civil rights of other citizens. Bob’s business is not Bob. Bob can be a bigot, but he cannot extend that right to his public business. And Bob cannot keep black customers out of the sphere of public commerce, much less ask the government to help him do it.

    Now, in a different system, like feudalism, individuals are not considered to have civil rights and personal liberty, and business is also the government. There is no free market and access to it is controlled by those given power or who take and maintain power. The southern states tried to create a feudal system concerning race, (which wasn’t that strange an idea, since despite the Constitution, the U.S. was largely feudal up until around the 1900’s.)

    And libertarians keep arguing for a return to this, not segregation specifically, but to have the government not protect the civil rights and personal liberty of buyers and sellers in regulating the public sphere of commerce and the operation of government, and instead, have businesses control the marketplace and the citizens of the country. And maybe this is because they are confusing business with business people, but every libertarian proposal I’ve seen specifically erodes civil rights and the equality and liberty of citizens and the freedom of the market, and the request for less government regulation of business is to facilitate this. That idea is often coupled with the conservative idea of more government regulation of citizens’ lives, to remove their rights. So overall, I don’t agree with most libertarian ideas any more than I agree with communism and conservatism.

  181. I promise that if I continue to make comments in this thread, they will be shorter. :) I forgot to mention that Rand Pauls’ numbers are apparently down. He’s now below 50% and has only a 4 point lead according to a new poll.

  182. Greg: The only right that exists is the right that you can do whatever you want so long as it isn’t physical violence.

    silbey: But then they wouldn’t say that you could restrict someone from your restaurant.

    Ah, I see what you’re getting at.

    I think libertarianism just takes “You have no right to tell me what to do”, then takes “me” and extends it to be “me and everythign I own”. With the result being a Libertarian wants to be “master of his domain”, which includes his body, his land, his home, his property, his physical objects.

    So, if a racist man owns a diner and wants to keep non-whites out, he should be able to do that.

    And if a black person enters the racist diner, that, in the mind of a Libertarian, is tresspassing. And teh government must allow the property owner to evict trespassers. And if the black guy won’t leave, the police should be able to remove the trespasser by force.

    It’s not that property “rights” are more important than “civil rights”. Thats not how Libertarians think. They don’t think of property as a right. They think of their property as an extension of themselves. And you don’t have the right to tell me what to do, where “me” is “me and my property”.

    its pure egoism and pure self and zero empathy and zero other. And somehow, it magically works out. (invisible hand, etc).

    They see all “rights” as nothing more than an extension of “I”.

    The state has moral authority to police physical violence and enforce property ownership and evict tresspassers, because all of that, psychologically speaking, is a libertarian extension of “I”.

    So, if they hold “property rights” as more important than “civil rights” its because property rights are something they have and civil rights are problems that other people have to deal with, not them.

    When you think of libertarianism as all ego, no empathy, everything falls into the “I’ve got mine, you go get your own” mentality, and the government is only there to enforce that mentality. And, somehow, it also results in the most efficient and just distribution of property.

    Hm, yeah, it’s like one big Mary Sue of political idealogy.

  183. I promise that if I continue to make comments in this thread, they will be shorter

    I’ve read everything you’ve posted (or at least everything you’ve posted since I started reading the thread). And I’ve got no complaints.

    I do wonder if you have formal education in the field, though, cause you appear to know a lot more about the history of this stuff than I do.

  184. Greg @ 119 – It’s not that property “rights” are more important than “civil rights”. Thats not how Libertarians think. They don’t think of property as a right. They think of their property as an extension of themselves. And you don’t have the right to tell me what to do, where “me” is “me and my property”.

    its pure egoism and pure self and zero empathy and zero other. And somehow, it magically works out. (invisible hand, etc).

    I’m going to defend libertarians in saying that I’ve never personally met one who *would* exclude someone from a meal or whatever based on gender, or deal unfairly with someone based on conscious decisions about race. And many of them have empathy on the effects of racism.

    But they see the state stepping in to correct it as worse than the racism in the first place. And I can accept that as something I don’t agree with, but I can’t say they lack empathy.

    That said, Rand Paul’s claims (bringing the thread back to the original point) that he would have marched in Selma, or that he would have taken a bigger stand against racism if he’d been alive during the civil rights era are bad form.

    The Zimbardo and Millgram experiments prove that the vast majority of us are happy to go along with authoritarian movements, if that’s who’s in power. Paul’s claim to being special snowflake is nothing he’s going to get the chance to prove.

    Everyone wants to be the hero in the hypothetical, few people (and I don’t include myself here) are heroic right here and now. I know a few actual heroes who stood up against the system when it would have been easier to back down, and who did it for altruistic reasons. Most of us aren’t them. Rand Paul can’t claim that title without having actually done the heavy lifting.

  185. I may sound more official than I am out of a combo of being a former lit agent who did rights contracts and being married to a political science professor. :)

    “When you think of libertarianism as all ego, no empathy, everything falls into the “I’ve got mine, you go get your own” mentality, and the government is only there to enforce that mentality. And, somehow, it also results in the most efficient and just distribution of property.”

    Yeah, but Greg, that’s financial conservatism, except that conservatism doesn’t promise that there will be an efficient and just distribution of property. I agree with Josh that I don’t think most libertarians support racism. But they don’t support the government protecting citizens’ civil rights and they don’t support equal access to a free market. Essentially, business owners (sellers) are supposed to get special exemption passes from the government that allow them to strip fellow citizens of equal rights, while using those citizens’ tax dollars and resources getting services from the government such as public land use, law enforcement and the courts, subsidies, etc. It’s not so much “I have mine” as “give me that and I can take their stuff too.”

    Which as I said, I find very Victorian-era in thinking.

  186. Kat –

    Never apologize for the length of your comments. It’s a moral imperative to speak at length when *someone is wrong on the Internet*.

    I would have contributed more if I had found myself capable for talking about Rand Paul or the folks who call themselves libertarian today without just losing it.

    I tend to agree that most true libertarians Ive met are not sympathetic in the least to racism. But, even then, it’s naive to fail to examine the hard factual data of what an unregulated market place actually does for racism.

    And the mob rule that KIA has done so much arguing against is exactly what winds up supprting that unregulated market’s bias against blacks, in this case. So, you know, a double dose of naive can be forgiven among friends in a philosophical discussion on the ups and downs of political systems.

    But, you know, when you’re running to be the guy in charge of one percent of the vote on future such issues, it is not okay to have a silly conversation where you defend Civil Rights Act criticisms, especially in the context of what it didn’t do for the business owners.

    Rand Paul is the modern type of libertarian that’s trending so chic right now. It’s just a selfish mess of I should be able to do what I like and make other people do that too. So, not really libertarian anymore. As evidenced by the tea partiers stances on any number of issues.

    And Rand Paul is a special brand of stupid. I mean, if he really wanted to talk about these issues, why didn’t he make something like emminent domain the subject at hand and rail on in exactly the same way? The only difference being is people would vote for him instead of calling him an idiot.

  187. Josh: But they see the state stepping in to correct it as worse than the racism in the first place.

    First all, me@187: in the minds of a Libertarian, the evil of a hypothetical property grab is far greater than the evil of very real racism.

    so, yeah.

    I can’t say they lack empathy.

    Second of all, immeasurable empathy is no empathy.

    Third of all, measurable political indifference, as in saying the State has no right to get involved in civil rights, is anti-empathy.

    And having measurable antipathy and no measurable empathy, isn’t very good evidence for asserting empathy.

    The Zimbardo and Millgram experiments prove that the vast majority of us are happy to go along with authoritarian movements

    Meh, I think all Millgram does is distinguish something that had been previously undistinguished, re how we relate to authority. Human rights wasn’t really distinguished as a concept until the last few hundred years. It is distinguished pretty well here and now, but in other cultures it isn’t distinguished now, and in America it was undistinguished for the vast majority of people even half a century ago.

    twelve thousand years ago, homo sapiens exactly like you and me, struggled to survive hunting wooly mammoths. they had no concept of human rights. If you devised a “human rights” psychology test for them, most would probably fail. If you gave that same test to americans today, they wouldn’t be perfect, but they’d be a lot better than those hunter gatherers.

    I’m sure someone could come up with a race-equivalent version of the Millgram test and if you ran that test today, you’d get different results than if you ran it 50 or 100 years ago.

    Which is just a way of saying that humans are, at least in part, a function of their culture. And culture, over the long view, is getting better. Or put another way, there’s nature and nuture. and while our “nature” hasn’t changed much (our genetics, our brain structure, our instinctive responses), our “nuture” has (our culture, our societal sense of right and wrong, the myths and stories we tell ourselves).

    I actually have a little bit of that faith in people that KIA claims he had but didn’t.

    Kat: former lit agent who did rights contracts and being married to a political science professor

    Ah, yes, that’s explains just about everything from tone to content. Cool.

    that’s financial conservatism, except that conservatism doesn’t promise that there will be an efficient and just distribution of property.

    I think the invisible hand of capitalism is basically the benevolent God of Libertarians, Conservatists, and Objectivists. And their god is an “efficient” god and a “just” god. it’s a somewhat tautological definition of “just”, but when the alternative is that Government regulation caused the crash last year or the Great Depression way back when, that the State has no moral standing to regulate commerce and therefore is immoral, that the state is run by lazy grasshoppers wanting to enslave all the hardworking ants, and that in a free market anyone who is rich is rich because they got their all on their own hard work and anyone who is poort is just lazy, it seems fair to say that they think their God is “just” and “fair”.

    It’s not what I would call “fair”, but I think they hold their view as fair. It’s just their definition of fair.

    they don’t support the government protecting citizens’ civil rights and they don’t support equal access to a free market. Essentially, business owners (sellers) are supposed to get special exemption passes from the government that allow them to strip fellow citizens of equal rights, while using those citizens’ tax dollars and resources getting services from the government such as public land use, law enforcement and the courts, subsidies, etc.

    This isn’t how they view themselves at all.

    First of all, most people on some level think they’re fair, think they’re just, think they’re moral. It’s just that they all have different definitions of fair, just, and moral.

    Breaking it down:

    they don’t support the government protecting citizens’ civil rights

    Because to them the hypothetical evil of a government that can tell people what to do is far worse than the real evil of racism.

    and they don’t support equal access to a free market.

    Because to them, the market is naturally free and regulation is what makes it unfair.

    Essentially, business owners (sellers) are supposed to get special exemption passes from the government

    Except, to them, the government doesnt have the moral right to make them do anything they don’t want to do, so they’re not looking for a “special examption” for them, they think the government should be hands off for everyone in the first place.

    that allow them to strip fellow citizens of equal rights

    Except to them, the only real rights are property rights. KIA said it himself. If the government has the power to take your property, then you aren’t free. They support their version of “equal rights”. Their version is that everyone gets to do whatever they want so long as it isn’t physical violence and so long as they each are master of their physical property.

    while using those citizens’ tax dollars and resources getting services from the government such as public land use, law enforcement and the courts, subsidies, etc

    Because in their world, money creates money, wealth creates more wealth, and capitalism creates jobs for everyone. The only thing that will ruin this is government regulation.

    If you want to talk about what they support, what they think, from their point of view, I think it is imperitive to first get that they think they are moral, right, and just. They even think their God the Invisible Hand will reward the hardworking and punish the lazy, all in a fair, objective, and just manner.

    I don’t think for a moment that any Libertarian thinks they’re trying to get “special exemption” just because they’re a business owner or that they think they’re stripping people of their rights or any fo that. They think they have the moral high ground compared to the rest of us.

    And I think its important to keep that in mind, because the only characters who actually think they’re evil are the cardboard characters in really bad fiction. Most everyone else thinks they’re justified in some way or another.

    I think that when you look at Libertarian thought with the added perspective that comes from empathy and a comprehension of systems (the government as a system) and maybe a little faith in humanity, then Libertarianism’s flaws become obvious.

    And I’m willing to assert that Libertarians don’t have any functional empathy, have an extremely poor grasp of systems (the State and Society), and have zero faith in anyone but themselves.

    I’m clear that they think they’re being fair and just. It’s only with the added distinctions of empathy and so on, from outside looking in, do the flaws become apparent.

  188. Yeah, I don’t see them as evil either, but as very resistant to dealing with facts. Like, for instance, the conservative/libertarian/etc. rationale is apparently that government tied Frannie and Freddie Mac lending to poor people caused the recession. The Macs certainly helped with it, because they were not sufficiently regulated, but the big banks, who also were not sufficiently regulated, who bundled toxic mortgages, traded derivatives and leveraged bad business loans, caused the recession, and then got a bailout from Bush that was also thoroughly unregulated.

    Empathy and protecting civil rights is self-interest. These things increase the long-term success and prosperity of business, people and the government. But as you said, Greg, the idea that all people have full democratic civil rights is relatively new to people, only about 100 years old and only in a few parts of the world.

    Rand Paul — who again says he’s not a libertarian — told a Russian t.v. station of all things that he believes the children of illegal immigrants born in the U.S. should not be allowed to be citizens. Never mind that 14th amendment of the Constitution, which also includes that popular “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” phrase. So he really is a far right extreme guy. Of course, it’s easy for politicians to attack people who can’t vote and paint them as a threat to people who can.

  189. As an add on to Rand’s latest on citizenship: that same stance made news earlier this week as it’s another law Arizona state government is apparently trying to get passed.

    So, so much for the right being strict constructionists.

    “Everyone should have the rights our founding fathers laid out. And as a white land owning male, I offer that I and my cabal are now in charge of everyone. You’ll get the “rights” we’re willing to dole out.”

    All this bullshit about the inalienable right of property and these people want to deport natural born citizens.

  190. Empathy and protecting civil rights is self-interest.

    I think empathy is on a different plane of some sort than civil rights. or maybe a different level of the same axis. something. I may be abusing the terminology, but here goes.

    at the psychological level: empathy and ego are yin and yang opposites. Self vs other.

    Psychologically, I think there’s another axis that deals with images and symbols. i.e. language. representatives of reality rather than reality. Finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. Etc. This is where system design lives. Because design of a thing is not the thing itself.

    And you need empathy and ego to do good political system design. Ego gives you a system that allows for individual freedom and self interest. Empathy gives you a system where you have some semblance of equality, civil rights, and so on.

    At the system level, civil rights is in everyone’s self interest. rising tide, all boats, etc.

    The thing is, and I really think it boils down to this, is that if you don’t have good psychological development of empathy or systems, you end up trying to define right and wrong with the only thing left: ego.

    And if all you’ve got is ego, then your political/moralty system ends up looking like libertarianism, neoconservatism, Ayn Rand objectivists, and on the far end of that spectrum, fascism.

  191. To the extent that property rights are relevant to communism, they would probably be better described as exactly equal rights to everyone. Which makes them effectively meaningless. But, in the theory, I’d prefer them to my rights in a fascist state.

    To the extent that you are concerned about your individual property rights, I’d be more concerned about fascism than communism. The property rights in that system exist to serve the interest of the state, which exists to serve the interest of the businesses. More like emminent domain applied to everything. You can “own” your land/car/widget/anything right up until it becomes more useful to the business machine. So, no real rights there either.

    So. No. Property rights are a full spectrum concern. Ipso facto. And everyone promises to service your need to property. The left and right theorize different approaches. And, in reality, the isms, left and right, use different rhetoric to neuter your rights. On the isms to the right, deeds issued by the government are the opiate of the people.

  192. And, if you have no property rights, then you have communism, Q.E.D.

    Yeah, no, as others have already mentioned.

    But, in any case, you still didn’t answer my question: why are property rights valued *every other right* by libertarians?

  193. silbey, save your breath. Libertarians don’t answer direct questions. The most that will happen is they will say “in answer to your question” and then go off on some completely unrelated topic, and use it as an opportunity to repeat some standard libertarian talking points.

    I’ve got a simple yes/no question: Is the libertarian constitution ammendable?

    And I’ve *never* had a libertarian answer it directly. If the vast majority of people say they want to regulate commerce and regulate property rights, can they?

    cue crickets chirping.

    They don’t answer that question because the people already have said they want the government to regulate commerce and regulate property rights, which totally destroys their premise.

    They have no way of jiving their version of utopia with a constitutional democracy that has essentially told them to get stuffed.

  194. silbey, save your breath. Libertarians don’t answer direct questions

    If so, we’ll have a summary of their silence.

  195. Agreed. Which is largely why there is little point in taking a party founded on neo-libertarian principles seriously. They’ve taken the worst of libertarian thought, a highly self oriented theory in its own right, and applied that selfishness to nonsensical objections over taxes. This is where the tea party came from.

    How can you take seriously a person that objects to the idea of improved access to health care on the grounds that their property rights might have been violated?

    Of course they don’t answer that. It’s a cognitive blindspot depending entirely on the pseudointellectual rationalization of “I think it, therefore it is.”

  196. So now, the Kentucky State Senate has, in the wake of Paul’s comments for which Kentucky has taken a lot of heat, passed a state resolution that any form of discrimination is inconsistent with U.S. and Kentucky values. It passed without objection, despite heavy Republican occupation of the Kentucky Senate. So I’m guessing the Kentucky Republicans are pretty unhappy right now that they’ve got this ideologue as their federal Senate candidate.

    But what’s pretty about it is that Paul asserted that a white restaurant owner who discriminated would be shunned by clientele and the market for that attitude in this day and age. And now he’s getting a bit of shunning for asserting that public discrimination should be okay, and from his own state Senate.

  197. @ other bill – As much as I hate to defend the Tea Party folks, it’s not about “improved” access to health care, it’s about mandatory requirements for people to have health care, to some extent, about government spending to subsidize it for those who can’t afford it, and the implied “takeover” of private industry, also including the auto industry and bank bailouts which resulted in temporary government control of large amounts of stock in private industry.

    I still think they’re ignorant gits, but I’d rather see people criticize them for things they’re really guilty of.

  198. Fair enough. And it isn’t so much that I think there shouldn’t have been a cogent counterargument to the health care bill.

    but I’d say by and large the majority of the tea party’s counter arguments boiled down to an infringement on their rights. Which were by and large centered on tax policy objections. Which is, in their world view a property rights argument. I base this on their ongoing war with the interstate commerce clause and their supposition that states rights were infringed.

    And the ones that weren’t orbited around fear of “other”. Neither of which seriously addressed the issue that adminstered health care is great for the haves and no one else gets in. Or the part where insurance companies pretty screwed everyone they could.

    So, instead of mounting a meaningful counterproposal to deal with a very serious policy issue, they based their argument on the fact that their healthcare was just fine and insurance companies hadn’t screwed them yet. So, what everyone else was saying was just wrong.

    Hence, a very selfish ideology that works pretty favorably to encourage fear of other and a pseudointellectual arrogance that they think healthcare is fine, therefore it is.

    Which you can also see in their counterprosals for immigration policy. Support the ban of cultural history and minority contributions teachings in school. Fire teachers with an accent. Deport natural born citizens. And finally, the reason for the original post: property rights were infringed by the civil rights act.

    I don’t take anything from that ideology seriously because it’s based so strongly on self serving group enforced anecdotal evidence. And they take themselves to absurdity by suggesting the impropriety of the civil rights act because it made things tough for white business owners.

    But, mind, that’s totally separate from my valuing a strong interparty debate on the policy issues of the day. Of course, since the tea party has so successfully murdered the last of the moderate republicans, that can’t happen.

  199. @AET: “The Free Market isn’t. Take away government controls and corporate interests will conspire against the public. They’ll bust unions, form trusts and monopolies, buy politicians, brutally silence critics, and pollute. And that’s just in the First World.”

    As opposed to what goes on today, where unions use government controls to bust corporations, form a labor trust / monopoly (think the UAW), buy politicians, brutally silence critics (think the SEIU goons on the lawns of private citizens), et al and ad nauseum? And that’s just in the First World.

  200. unions use government controls to bust corporations

    Yeah, uhm, vilifying the fact that unions have the equivalent of RPG’s while failing to mention the nuclear stockpile on the corporate side of things is an intentional lie by omission.

    Wall Street corporations like AIG didn’t fail because the Unions dragged them down. British Petroleum isn’t dumping oil into the gulf because of the Unions busted the corporation. Those corps did it all on their greedy lonesome selves.

    But while you’re here, care to take another shot at Libertarian Bingo?

  201. Greg: “Yeah, uhm, vilifying the fact that unions have the equivalent of RPG’s while failing to mention the nuclear stockpile on the corporate side of things is an intentional lie by omission.”

    You have that precisely backwards. How, pray tell, short of either dissolving the company or going to the trouble and cost of moving their operations, can a company “nuke” a union? Once the union is in, the union is in and the company more or less has to smile.

    Greg: “Wall Street corporations like AIG didn’t fail because the Unions dragged them down. British Petroleum isn’t dumping oil into the gulf because of the Unions busted the corporation. Those corps did it all on their greedy lonesome selves.”

    The auto-companies, on the other hand, were slowly choked to the point of non-competition because of the unions. The companies they work for were bailed out as a sop to the unions for paying the freight on getting certain and politicians elected. Likewise, in exchange for the millions they spend, there is talk of giving them billions to fill out their pension funds — a pretty good ROI, all flensched from the tax-payer.

    The two entities — unions and corporations — are two faces of the same problem, in more than a couple respects. The problem is is that some folks like to pretend their bastards aren’t bastards.

  202. The government didn’t take over the damn car industry. The car companies came begging for money, because, hey, the banks got a liberal hand-off and if the car companies went under, they would create a flood of unemployed workers. (You know, the ones who belong to those all so powerful unions and yet are constantly getting laid off by the car companies who send the bulk of the work to foreign countries that can supply them with slave labor.)

    And the government didn’t have any choice, but they knew full well if they gave the car companies the money the way Bush threw money at the banks that the car companies would lay off the U.S. workers anyway. So the terms of the loan were that the government would invest in the car companies on the workers’ behalf and if they wanted the money — and to keep their private jets — the car companies couldn’t fire the workers.

    Obama didn’t want to own Ford and GM, who have been dying the last forty years and are likely to eventually go under without producing the clean energy cars the U.S. desperately needs. The mismanaged bank disaster dumped in his lap had been bad enough. But with the financial industry and corporations shedding thousands of workers, they couldn’t afford to have the blue collar workers completely decimated too. It wasn’t about taking over the car companies, but trying to keep the unemployment figures from being even worse than they were.

    But if Obama had just thrown money at the car companies like has been done in the past and was done with the banks, and they’d fired the workers, or if the administration had let the U.S. car companies go under and they fired the workers, well then he’d be an evil fascist who was destroying U.S. business, wouldn’t he? So really, it didn’t matter which thing they chose, so they chose the one that would lead to a minimum of firings.

    The constant refrain that the unions and the Democrats are full of socialists who want the government to take over all and create fascist communism — without knowledge of what socialism, fascism and communism are in the least — has made a beautiful mix with lingering racism supported by the economic disaster and a black President. Half of the Tea Partiers seem to be white supremists — though only a third of those might term themselves such — and the other half seem to have the political knowledge of five-year-olds. They aren’t dumb people — quite a lot of them are educated and well off. But they want to believe that there’s a concrete war they can fight with an enemy lurking to spring at them, just like a movie. That’s all of Glen Beck’s rhetoric, that a war is coming and who from is not entirely clear, but he’s pretty certain Obama — the scary black man in charge — is leading the army, whatever it is. They just are regurgitating 1950’s McCarthyism — they don’t even bother to change the words half the time — and you just have to wonder if Americans are ever going to grow up from believing there are bogeymen under their beds. And if the bulk of whites in the country will ever stop viewing non-whites as threats.

    McCarthyism died off because enough people stood up to the abuse of government power that was supposedly in the name of U.S. capitalism, and because the invading army of dangerous communists among them never did materialize. And I suspect that part of Glen Beck’s ratings drop is because those black helicopters just don’t show up. But the Tea Partiers — who from the beginning were used as front operation to raise funds for Libertarian and Republican politicians of a certain stripe — have now gotten a taste of political power and set the Republicans ass over tea kettle. So it will be interesting — will the Tea Party folk, who claim that the “British” are coming so to speak in the form of socialists and Mexicans, get into power or will they cause disaster? And what happens when the British don’t show up, as they haven’t despite constant claims that they will during the last sixty years, complete with claims of concentration camp plans and death trenches? Of course, McCarthy didn’t have the aid of terrorists trying to bomb Times Square to keep up the fear levels.

    Eh, I’m rambling again. Off to bed. After I check under it, of course.

  203. Kat: “The government didn’t take over the damn car industry. The car companies came begging for money, because, hey, the banks got a liberal hand-off and if the car companies went under, they would create a flood of unemployed workers.”

    Remind me again — who owns the majority share of two of the big three?

    As for going out of business, that’s is a natural consequence of the situation the union and the company created between them — the union by demanding and the company by accepting contracts that were unsustainable.

    As for a flood of unemployed workers, lots of American industries have gone under over the years — what makes the automotive industries special, beyond the political connection that the UAW and the Big Three have?

    Kat: “And the government didn’t have any choice, but they knew full well if they gave the car companies the money the way Bush threw money at the banks that the car companies would lay off the U.S. workers anyway. So the terms of the loan were that the government would invest in the car companies on the workers’ behalf and if they wanted the money — and to keep their private jets — the car companies couldn’t fire the workers. ”

    The Government most certainly had a choice. They could stay out of the business of picking winners and losers in the market-place. By “investing” in the company (i.e. taking them over — once you start making policy and naming corporate officers, you have de facto control), they basically made that half of the population that pays taxes involuntary investors in these companies. Where, exactly, does that appear in the enumerated powers?

    Kat: “The constant refrain that the unions and the Democrats are full of socialists who want the government to take over all and create fascist communism — without knowledge of what socialism, fascism and communism are in the least — has made a beautiful mix with lingering racism supported by the economic disaster and a black President. Half of the Tea Partiers seem to be white supremists (sic) — though only a third of those might term themselves such — and the other half seem to have the political knowledge of five-year-olds.”

    A whole collection of ad hominem bile, unsupported by the facts.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/127181/tea-partiers-fairly-mainstream-demographics.aspx

    But, then, why let the facts get in the way of a rant?

  204. beyond the political connection that the UAW and the Big Three have?

    That UAW boogeyman is gonna git ya.

    They get their electrical power from your screams….

  205. @silbey — Why, have I suggested that it is? I know y’all would like to dress me up as some sort of wild-eyed radical, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t cooperate. Likewise, you’ll forgive me that if I don’t help you build a straw-man.

    The right to property is not wholly absolute under the Constitution, as there is the power of eminent domain. This permits the government can take property from the private individual for public purpose, even if that “public purpose” is to give that land to another private citizen for a private purpose that will generate more tax revenues, at least on paper (See the Kelo case).

    Likewise, under the concept of legislative grace, it is only by the mercy of the legislature that any income goes untaxed. Obviously, the right to property isn’t absolute. That said, it should be relatively high on the list — do you really want to live in a state where property can be re-distributed freely, on the basis of a political spoils system?

    What I am saying, if you missed it, is that unions are a part of the problem at the current date, not part of the solution, at present. What I am saying is that, despite comments to the contrary, two major corporations were taken over by the government, as evidenced by the gov’t control over the make-up of the corporate office, using monies from the public purse. The government has involved itself in picking “winners” and “losers.” Bond-holders were hosed, but the government is going to great lengths to make sure that the union members are made whole, again, from the public purse.

    I’ll ask you the same question I asked, where does the above appear in the enumerated powers of either the Executive or Legislative branches of government?

  206. Dread: IOW, you have no useful rebuttal.

    In other words, I’m not going to bother “rebutting” moronic propaganda.

    As for the “Free Market”, maybe we should let corporations like Cargil decide how much salt we should eat.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/health/30salt.html?hp

    Let that invisible hand of capitalism make it all work out, eh?

    Oh, I keep forgetting. The invisible hand of capitalism, plus the almighty power of individual boycotts. Yeah, just look at all the progress that got us in the last couple centuries.

    “Concrete Jungle” anyone?

    Or maybe everyone should just shut the hell up and let British Petroleum find the best solution to the leak in the Gulf. Let the Free Market sort it out, right? Why have government regulation of oil drilling when we can all simply boycott BP when they do something we think is wrong?

    Those oil executives sure learned the lesson from our brutal boycotts after Exxon Valdez, didn’t they?

    Dread, the problem isnt’ that I don’t have a “useful rebuttal”. The problem is that you don’t have a logical argument to begin with.

    Anyone defending a pure Laissez Faire approach to economics can only do so by picking and choosing their anecdotal evidence to support their ideology.

    What did you pick? The bailout of 2009/2010. You proved nothing. You most certainly didn’t prove that the Free Market and Laissez Faire would have avoided the 2009 crash. Most people don’t understand how economies work, which means most people don’t understand how the bailout would help it, or what the lack of a bailout would do.

    Your first post in this thread is @210, rebutting AET@45: ““The Free Market isn’t. Take away government controls and corporate interests will conspire against the public.”

    Your response ignores what food companies did before the FDA, what snake oil companies did before the FDA, what banks did before FDIC, what aircraft did before FAA, what sludge corporations dumped before the EPA, and so on, and instead, you focus on libertarian propaganda about how the gummint is “controlled by unions”.

    You didn’t rebut AET. You changed the subject to standard conservative/libertarian talking points.

    So, right back at you, ye ancient, all powerful, and feared cthulhu (yeah, right). You have no useful rebutal to “The Free Market isn’t. Take away government controls and corporate interests will conspire against the public”. You just changed the subject.

    This is me, not impressed.

  207. Likewise, under the concept of legislative grace, it is only by the mercy of the legislature that any income goes untaxed.

    Standard libertarian fairy tale about Lazy Grasshoppers.

    do you really want to live in a state where property can be re-distributed freely, on the basis of a political spoils system?

    ZOMG! I know this friend who knows a guy whose sister’s husband heard someone talking in the mens bathroom at a truckstop telling this story about this other guy who had everything he owned confiscated by the gummint. It happens all the time! It could happen to you!

    Cue dramatic hamster.

    What I am saying, if you missed it, is that unions are a part of the problem at the current date

    No, what you’re saying is that unions are the biggest part of the problem. The original post to which you replied said Free Market doesn’t work. Take away government regulation and the corporations will ride rough shod over the public’s best interests.

    Your response? “unions use government controls to bust corporations, form a labor trust / monopoly, buy politicians, brutally silence critics, et al and ad nauseum”

    Ad nauseum, no less.

    Meanwhile, corporations are doing what? Sitting by all helpless and innocent? Picked on by those big mean all powerful unions?

    What you’re purposely lacking is something called “perspective”. i.e. an honest and fair evaluation would have to compare the negatives of goverment regulation and unions compared to the negatives of complete Laisez Faire market. And thus far, the real evils of unregulated markets far outweigh the real evils of, (shudder), unions.

    But you dont’ make a comparison. You ignore the evils of Laissez Faire and simply focus on the issues of governmetn regulation and unions.

    But even then, you don’t compare apples to apples. You ignore all real world evils of unregulated markets, and you instead invoke hypothetical evils that might maybe, possibly, in some bizarro world, where taxes are arbitrarily set at the “mercy of the legislature” and where everyone’s property can be totally redistributed based on some “political spoils system”.

    BP spilling oil in the gulf is real. You’re concern about America as a constitutional democracy arbitrarily confiscating everyone’s property is a ghost story Libertarians and Conservatives tell themselves around the campfire at night, often with themselves cast as the hero who overthrows this evil nemisis.

    Hm, it keeps coming back to libertarianism being little more than one big Mary Sue story.

  208. Greg: “As for the “Free Market”, maybe we should let corporations like Cargil decide how much salt we should eat.”

    Which again, has nothing to do with the topic at hand…

    For starters, your words betray a fundamental lack of understanding — in a free market, Cargill doesn’t get to decide how much salt we should eat, we do. Cargill can offer their products and the consumer can decide if the want them or not.

    However, to indulge you for a moment, I would point out that in NY, a legislator attempted to pass a law forbidding cooks and chefs from adding any salt, full stop — kiss of death to bakers, since salt is a necessary component in baking.

    Greg: “Or maybe everyone should just shut the hell up and let British Petroleum find the best solution to the leak in the Gulf. Let the Free Market sort it out, right? Why have government regulation of oil drilling when we can all simply boycott BP when they do something we think is wrong?”

    Maybe, but only if you ignore that the US gov’t approved a variance in how the well was being finished shortly before the explosion. Now, boycotting BP if you disagree with their procedures or are disappointed with their progress is a perfectly acceptable answer. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that “government regulation” is a part of the problem — the only reason that we’re drilling a mile down out in the deep waters of the Gulf is that more accessible oil aren’t getting permitted. Were this well-head on land or in shallower water, it would have been capped far more quickly.

    Greg: “Those oil executives sure learned the lesson from our brutal boycotts after Exxon Valdez, didn’t they?”

    Giving the improvements in the tanker fleet and the growing infrequency of oil leaks of this sort, I would say that the oil companies are learning.

    This is as opposed to, say, environmentalists, who believe that simple demonization is an adequate substitute for knowledge. For example, there is the caribou population who were supposed to be “decimated” by the Alaska pipeline, but whose numbers have increased since its construction.

    Greg: “Anyone defending a pure Laissez Faire approach to economics can only do so by picking and choosing their anecdotal evidence to support their ideology.”

    Straw-man — I am not arguing for “pure laissez fair” markets. What I am saying is that the unions are doing most of the same things that AET accuses the corporations of doing. Hell, there hasn’t been a truly “free” market in this nation for decades, and that’s optimistic.

    Greg: “instead, you focus on libertarian propaganda about how the gummint is “controlled by unions”.”

    No, Greg, what I said was “As opposed to what goes on today, where unions use government controls to bust corporations, form a labor trust / monopoly (think the UAW), buy politicians, brutally silence critics (think the SEIU goons on the lawns of private citizens), et al and ad nauseum? And that’s just in the First World.”

    Now, are you saying that I am factually inaccurate? If anything, I’ve soft-peddled the problems that Unions create, not mentioning the corruption and extortion that goes hand-in-glove with unionization.

    Unions harm competition, with the aid of the government in the building trades, artificially inflating public works costs, through the “prevailing wage” portion of the law (the law assumes the union rate is the prevailing wage, rather than examine what the prevailing wage is for the work). Us there any American industry that has flourished as a result of the unionization of its work-force?

    The UAW’s control of the contracts with the Big Three gives them great power over the companies, esp. in light of Michigan laws that makes the hiring of replacement workers harder than it needs to be, upsetting the balance of power in negotiations between the union and the companies by putting the state in the union’s back pocket.

    Are you suggesting that the Unions don’t buy politicians? That one is spurious on its face.

    Are you suggesting that unions don’t seek to silence critics and their opposition through intimidation?

    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/535018/201005250013/Mob-Rule-From-SEIU.aspx

    Bet its just a coincidence that the SEIU is in hock up to their eyes to BoA.

    Again, Greg, you’re missing the point. The Unions are currently doing all the things that AET claimed that corporations would do were they released from their fetters. Everything else is your fevered imagination, reading what it wants, rather than what I actually wrote.

  209. @silbey — Why, have I suggested that it is? I know y’all would like to dress me up as some sort of wild-eyed radical, but you’ll excuse me if I don’t cooperate. Likewise, you’ll forgive me that if I don’t help you build a straw-man.

    I asked you because the self-identified libertarians in the thread haven’t responded and you seemed to share some of their opinions and be fairly active at the moment. If you don’t share the belief that property rights are absolute, then it seems that you can’t answer the question. Thanks anyway.

    I do find it fascinating that those espousing libertarian beliefs (and I’m not address DC here) can’t seem to explain the underpinnings of their belief at all.

  210. No no, John, it’s the part where you wonder, and everyone else involved keep plowing on as if you’d said nothing :-)

    Might want to just shut this thread down, IMHO.

  211. Josh Jasper:

    Well, I allow for a little bit of delayed reaction. But, yes. If all we’re going to be doing here is generalized sniping of political positions, I’ll probably tell everyone to call it a night soon. AGAIN.

  212. Cargill can offer their products and the consumer can decide if the want them or not.

    What was the motto for the Pinto? Not a pound heavier, not a penny more?

    hey, if the people decide they want to buy a flaming deathtrap, then, by god, they should have that choice.

    in NY, a legislator attempted

    ZOMG! American Constitutional Democracy is completely arbitrary! We must have hard limits on what the State can do! Like only police physical violence! Be afraid!

    Unions harm competition

    And sneak into your home at night and eat your children.

    Corporations, on the other hand, never do nothing wrong.

    I’m sure the reason BP is spilling all that oil into the gulf is because gummint regulations were imposed on it by unions who own them.

    Again, Greg, you’re missing the point

    The point is you’re invoking hypothetical nonsense as worst case union costs and avoiding real-world history for worst case corporate costs. And that’s not an argument. That’s propaganda. Lie by ommission is still a lie.

  213. I’ll probably tell everyone to call it a night soon.

    g’night Mary Ellen.
    g’night John Boy.
    g’night grandpa.

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