Jon Stewart's 19 Tough Questions for Libertarians! Stefan Molyneaux responds

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hhSsIpjtzY&feature=relmfu

This should answer most of the objects to libertarianism made on this board.

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TheFirstLeftist
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BLAH BLAH BLAH....... we've heard it before and it's still CRAP!

delete jan in iowa
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Quote jan in iowa:

BLAH BLAH BLAH....... we've heard it before and it's still CRAP!

I assumed you watch the video. Please give any four responses to any four questions that Molyneaux answered and tell me where you disagree. Thanks in advance.

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TheFirstLeftist
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Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote jan in iowa:

BLAH BLAH BLAH....... we've heard it before and it's still CRAP!

I assumed you watch the video. Please give any four responses to any four questions that Molyneaux answered and tell me where you disagree. Thanks in advance.

No..... he is spouting Libertarian dogma that is utter and complete steaming BS.

delete jan in iowa
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Quote jan in iowa:
Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote jan in iowa:

BLAH BLAH BLAH....... we've heard it before and it's still CRAP!

I assumed you watch the video. Please give any four responses to any four questions that Molyneaux answered and tell me where you disagree. Thanks in advance.

No..... he is spouting Libertarian dogma that is utter and complete steaming BS.

So, you're admitting that you are commenting on something you didn't listen to.

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TheFirstLeftist
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Generally speaking, an unofficial norm is that a poster should put things into their own words instead of flooding the board with links. If you can't explain something yourself, no one is going to bother with your recommendations.

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nimblecivet
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Did I flood this board with links?

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TheFirstLeftist
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Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote jan in iowa:
Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote jan in iowa:

BLAH BLAH BLAH....... we've heard it before and it's still CRAP!

I assumed you watch the video. Please give any four responses to any four questions that Molyneaux answered and tell me where you disagree. Thanks in advance.

No..... he is spouting Libertarian dogma that is utter and complete steaming BS.

So, you're admitting that you are commenting on something you didn't listen to.

Why are you here on this blog? What is your purpose being here?

delete jan in iowa
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Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm

I found his argument ultimately unconvincing. The problem is that if implemented in the real world his independent people voluntarily agreeing would voluntarily agree to do essentially what we are doing (except more effectively and less corruptly/violently) with essentially the same vulnerabilities an therefore the same ultimate result. In the end this means that Libertarianism would result in the same general progress, just getting there on the same path but with a different map.

There is one galling point however; public education did not create racism. Racists voluntarily agreed to create, staff, and fund a public education system that purposefully indoctrinated racism with the consent - in fact at the demand - of racists. His description of segregated businesses follows the same ideological trap - it was not any government that forced lunch counter owners to segregate, it was the owners. Maybe they would have made more money serving more people ***but they were racists***

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doh1304
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Quote doh1304:

. His description of segregated businesses follows the same ideological trap - it was not any government that forced lunch counter owners to segregate, it was the owners. Maybe they would have made more money serving more people ***but they were racists***

The segregation laws were LAWS! Made by the state government. If whites and blacks weren't willing and already doing business with each other in the racist South, then the laws wouldn't have been necessary. Green (money) usually trumps race. Racists then and now do business with each other every day. There is a price for racism.

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TheFirstLeftist
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Here are my responses to this idiocy. All of his answers are paraphrased; quotations designate verbatim wording.

Q: Is government the initiation of liberty?

A: No. Governments do not exist. They are akin to ghosts, hippogryphs, and dragons. "There are really only people with guns and people running and hiding from them." No, the initiation of force is the antithesis of morality and of liberty. Government is simply one large exmple.

Response: So, government does not exist, nor is it the anti-thesis of liberty. But government is an example of the anti-thesis of morality and liberty (which presumably means that it is something that exists otherwise it would be nothing and have no properties at all). A contradictory circle of reasoning... I don't even know how to respond because he is talking like a schizophrenic arguing with himself. The only thing that I would point out is that the absence of government does not equal the absence of guns, people with them, or people hiding from them. Coersion does not require government to exist. As I have explained to you in another thread, coersion is ALWAYS PRESENT when people relate to each other in complex ways. The question is not how to eliminate coersion - that would be impossible - but to create the social arrangement that has the least coersion and the most freedom for the most amount of people.

************

Q: One of the things that enhances freedoms are roads. Infrastructure enhances freedom. A social safety net enhances freedom.

A: Allowing rape enhances the freedom of a rapist. (Yes, roads and rape are the same thing). "Freedom is not the goal. Morality is the goal." Social safety net enhances freedom but it "enhances the freedom to make bad choices." (This is bolded because I think this will become really important later...) Welfare allows for the choice to not completing your education, getting job skills, having too many kids. "Roads allow for urban sprawl and allow us to use massive amounts of energy rather than looking for suitable alternatives. So, it doesn't matter what the results are. Slavery enhances the freedom for slave owners but we would not say that it is moral."

Response: This line of thought is puzzling to me because most Libertarians typically champion freedom, not morality, as the primary goal. If morality is mentioned, the conception of it they use is very basic.

He actually is on to something in this part of his rant but he doesn't even realize he is outlining the very internal contradiction of his philosophy. If the goal is not freedom but morality, what is morailty? Most Libertarians define morality as "lack of coersion" which is basically another way of saying freedom. If you say, "No morality is not freedom, it is X, Y, and Z." Then wouldn't the natural way to achieve morality be to make X, Y, and Z law and then have someone enforce morality?

******

Q: What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?

A: There are two kinds of losers: 1) Losers as a result of their condition - he specifically notes the disabled in this context. Charity. No reason to believe that won't continue. 2) Losers as the result of their own choices. Here he notes people who engage in unprotected sex. Bad investment choices. "'Losers that are picked by the free market' is to externalize the realities of people's choices.

Response: This is an extremely naive and simplistic view of the world and how it works. You basically have to operate at the level of a 2nd grader to accept this premise - that our life outcomes are the result of ONLY 1) ascriptive conditions, and 2) Our choices. To believe this would require one to assume that other people's choices have ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on our outcomes whatsoever. If you thought about that for even two seconds, you would realize this is not the case. Once you accept that individuals' outcomes are affected by decisions of others, you can begin to understand that when these effects are compounded over time and by sheer quantity that we actually have very limited control over our lives even in a libertarian paradise where there is "no coersion" (which is still impossible) and where everyone actually "follows the rules of morality" (which also will never happen).

Current rates of charitable giving does not account for the needs of individuals with disabilities. There is a disproportionate amoung of disabled in the US live in poverty despite having both charities and social safety nets in place. If you elminated the safety net, you would increase this proportion significantly. Additionally, charitable giving is spurred on by tax incentives to do so. It is unreasonable to assume that the current rate of giving would continue once these incentives are removed.

**********

Q: Do we live in a society or don't we? Are we a collective? Everybody's success is predicated on the hard work of all of us; nobody gets there on their own. Why should it be that the people who lose are hung out to dry? For a group that doesn't believe in evolution, it's awfully Darwinian.

A: Free market exchanges are win-win exchanges. They are perdicated on the idea that both parties involved will be better off as a result of the exchange. "When your business fails, you are not eaten by predators." Just because I buy an Ipad doesn't mean I am "owed" some part of Steve Jobs' fortune. He wanted by money more than their Ipad and I wanted the Ipad more than my money and we were both better off from that exchange.

Response: This line of thought is based on the presumption of endless expendable resources. To accept this line of thought, you would have to believe:

1. that EVERYONE will ALWAYS have resources at their disposal to make favorable trades for themselves.

2. that EVERYONE will ALWAYS have something that someone else needs to acquire the things they need.

3. that ALL market exchanges are completely voluntary.

4. In order to accept premise 3, you would have to believe that individuals ALWAYS have the choice to opt out of an exchange.

Not one of those assumptions is even remotely true. Each of those dynamics creates market exchanges that involve ASYMMETRICAL POWER RELATIONSHIPS between those involved. When these asymmetries exist, it is quite possible for market exchanges to be both coersive and also not beneficial to both parties.

Example: I am poor and have virtually no real property of value to my name. The only thing I have is $3.00 to buy a cheeseburger for dinner. I am walking to McDonalds and someone hanging a planter out a window makes a mistake and it falls on top of me giving me a deep cut to my head. A doctor happens to be near by and offers to fix my wound for $3.00. I kindly state, "But that is all I have and if I give it to you, I will starve." The doctor replies, "In that case, make it $3.00 and your shoes." "But it's snowing I say." The doctor replies, "Well, you will probably bleed out in the next few minutes but I am sure there is a charity around here somewhere that can help you out."

These types of interactions happen ALL THE TIME in markets - both regulated and unregulated.

*****

Q: In a representative democracy, we are the government. We have work to do, and we have a business to run, and we have children to raise.. We elect you as our representatives to look after our interests within a democratic system.

A: But the government is not representative because the financial industry buys politicians and then controls the system.

Response: This is my favorite meme the Libertarians use. It's my favorite because the idiocy it takes to say this crap with a straight face must just be astounding. It starts with a accurate observation: Private interests with lots of money buy our representatives to leverage their interests with the government's "power of the gun."

Then they dive right off a cliff: In order to fix this problem, we would like to suggest a system where we remove the government which companies are using to coerce you so that the companies can simply coerce you directly.

Do you honestly think for one damn minute that oil companies, for example, in absence of government would not all hire their own personal armies to fight wars for them rather than using the US military and NATO? Do you honestly think that in the absence of government that Wall Street would not have sold derivatives and crap mortgage backed securities that caused the financial collapse? Laughable. You would have to be a complete idiot to think that.

Shall I continue?

ah2
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Quote TheFirstLeftist:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hhSsIpjtzY&feature=relmfuThis should answer most of the objects to libertarianism made on this board.

Your parlor tricks won't work on me!

The quickest way to refute Libertarianism is to go to first principles. Your state has a law against one man using coercion against another - one man punching another in the face. Having such a law against coercion mitigates that harm. But what about the harm of nature - of an earthquake that flattens and kills thousands of people? Where is the law that mitigates the harm produced by natural coercion?

Now, before you go on a diatribe about charity and free markets and self-responsibility - just think for a minute. Why a law that mitigates one harm and not the other? Yes, if there is enough charity, this harm could be mitigated. Yes, if there is enough competition in the market place some of the usual harms we bring up could be mitigated. But harm is harm - and if you are against harm you would not make a law of the harms that you are particularly concerned with and let the other harms be treated conditionally.

This is the fundamental contradiction of Libertarianism.

When liberals talk about freedom, this is what they mean: the freedom of living in a just civilization; one that can afford people to run small businesses, engage in the arts and entertainment, and have weekends off. One that can have parks in it's neighborhoods, libraries, schools, zoning, and freeways that don't have HOV lanes. A thriving middle class. Healthy workplaces, food and air.

The libertarian freedom you talk about does not exist. Have you ever played monopoly? In a short period of time, the more successful firms drive out the less successful ones. The competition among capitalists seeks out the lowest paid labor and the technology that requires less and less human involvement. These effects combine into making a small elite at the top and slave labor at the bottom. Are they slaves by human coercion? Oh no, they are slaves to natural coercion and necessity. They either pay the rent or go somewhere else. They either take the wage or go somewhere else. They either compete with the cheapest wage earner in China or they go somewhere else.

It would not be too far to suppose that one day, all the countries in the world will simply be corporations, and you will have your libertarian paradise - but most people will just call it Fascism.

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Dr. Econ
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Quote Dr. Econ:

The libertarian freedom you talk about does not exist. Have you ever played monopoly? In a short period of time, the more successful firms drive out the less successful ones. The competition among capitalists seeks out the lowest paid labor and the technology that requires less and less human involvement. These effects combine into making a small elite at the top and slave labor at the bottom. Are they slaves by human coercion? Oh no, they are slaves to natural coercion and necessity. They either pay the rent or go somewhere else. They either take the wage or go somewhere else. They either compete with the cheapest wage earner in China or they go somewhere else.

It would not be too far to suppose that one day, all the countries in the world will simply be corporations, and you will have your libertarian paradise - but most people will just call it Fascism.

You are describing the system we have now where power is centralized in the Federal Gov't. And becoming more centralized every day.

The more successful firms in a free market do not drive out the less successful ones. The consumers, who are sovereign, decide through their buying who is most successful.

The more capital goods accumulated, through saving, the more productive labor is. The higher wages become. Of course, everyone wants to get the best price for themselves. Businesses want the lowest labor costs, but they have to compete for labor amonst other businesses. Laborers want the highest price for their labor, i.e. wages but they have to compete with other laborers and they can ask for a wage that is higher than what they produce. Otherwise, they won't get hired. Through this supply and labor wage schedules are set. This is why minimum wage laws cause unemployment. Putting aside the immorality and unconstitutionality of them, economically they raise wages above their free market rates. Anytime prices are above their free market levels, you get shortages. In this case, we call the shortages (higher supply, less demand) unemployment.

Libertarianism is the opposite of fascism. Fascism is the merger of state and corporate power. Libertarians seeks to separate the economy and the State.

There is no historical evidence of free markets leading to monopolies. Monopolies are created by the government. During the Robber Baron age, prices on kerosene and transportation were falling all the time. Tom DiLorenzo has written extensively about this. It was Big Business during the Progressive era that agitated for regulations. They wanted to cripple their competitors and cartelize the industry. You have to distinguish between a market entrepeneur, someone who becomes wealthy by satisfying his customers while not getting any special deal from the government , and political entrepeneurs, those who use government to exploit their fellow man. Some people start out as market entrepeneurs and later become political entrepeneurs. Both types can exist at the same time. But the distinction has to be made.

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Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote Dr. Econ:

The libertarian freedom you talk about does not exist.

You ignore my central point, which is the fundemental contradiction of libertarianism - that it treats human coercion against the law, and leaves natural coercion to chance.

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Dr. Econ
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Quote Dr. Econ:
Quote TheFirstLeftist:
Quote Dr. Econ:

The libertarian freedom you talk about does not exist.

You ignore my central point, which is the fundemental contradiction of libertarianism - that it treats human coercion against the law, and leaves natural coercion to chance.

I wasn't sure I knew what you meant by natural coercion. We are all subject to physical laws. And certain unfortunate events like earthquakes, fires, etc. are going to happen. Could you tell me what you would do about "natural" coercion? And then maybe I could answer better.

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TheFirstLeftist
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Quote Dr. Econ: The libertarian freedom you talk about does not exist. Have you ever played monopoly? In a short period of time, the more successful firms drive out the less successful ones. The competition among capitalists seeks out the lowest paid labor and the technology that requires less and less human involvement. These effects combine into making a small elite at the top and slave labor at the bottom. Are they slaves by human coercion? Oh no, they are slaves to natural coercion and necessity. They either pay the rent or go somewhere else. They either take the wage or go somewhere else. They either compete with the cheapest wage earner in China or they go somewhere else.

It would not be too far to suppose that one day, all the countries in the world will simply be corporations, and you will have your libertarian paradise - but most people will just call it Fascism.

Quote TheFirstLeftist: The more capital goods accumulated, through saving, the more productive labor is. The higher wages become.

Have you seen workers at jack in the box, or at FOXCONN? The technology and capital purchased by the firm reduces the demand for highly skilled employees. Do you understand this point? It is not necessary for increasing capital to increase wages.

Quote TheFirstLeftist: Of course, everyone wants to get the best price for themselves. Businesses want the lowest labor costs, but they have to compete for labor amonst other businesses. Laborers want the highest price for their labor, i.e. wages but they have to compete with other laborers and they can ask for a wage that is higher than what they produce.

1) First, if a worker is not productive enough, he should die due to natural coercion. Why does this not concern you?

2)Second, my reasoning above: let us suppose a person is productive today. But what if capital discovers a new technology that makes them able to hire the most wretched on earth at a miserable salary, then the current workers are let go, their human capital suddenly worth nothing. Why does this not concern you?

3) In the regular course of capitalist business, if someone goes out of business, fires all their workers, then there is also no demand for that capital or it's workers, by definition. Why does this not concern you?

4) Labor productivity is also a function of the family the person grew up with, failing that, public education, health and safety. Free market competition is terrible for newborns as well as adults who have to compete with the Chinese workers. This does not concern you as much as protecing your property, does it?

5) If someone wins the competition, then for that time he owns more of the market. At some point, he no longer has to worry as much about competing for labor amongst other businesses. This leads to:

Quote TheFirstLeftist: There is no historical evidence of free markets leading to monopolies.

OK, let's talk about 'market power', not 'monopoly'. There are other things that create market power:

1) industrialization leads to increasing returns to scale and hence increasing market share to a few firms.
2) highly skilled owners lead to the development of increasing market share
3) Fixed costs and factors are by definition not competitive

All these violations of market competition means that all the things that the Free Marketeers talk about fail at one time or another - and there is no Libertarian Cure. The Libertarians don't care about the effects of natural coercion because all they are concerned about is protecting their property.

Quote TheFirstLeftist: Monopolies are created by the government.

Monopoly contracts in the US were always illegal. In Germany, they were not, that is why you had monopolies in Germany.

Quote TheFirstLeftist: Libertarianism is the opposite of fascism. Fascism is the merger of state and corporate power. Libertarians seeks to separate the economy and the State.

Not if the wealthy owned all the land. Then they would call all the shots. The US would just be another corporation.

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Dr. Econ
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What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?

Stefan Molyneux: That's their fault. They chose to be losers.

Right....yeah....but what do we do with them? That was the question.

Stefan Molyneux: (At the 3:27 mark) Let them starve to death? *shrugs shoulders*

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ACast
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First leftist wrote:

The more successful firms in a free market do not drive out the less successful ones. The consumers, who are sovereign, decide through their buying who is most successful.

poly replies: That may be true with small town shops, and certainly isn't how industrial capitalism works.

Small grocers were driven out years ago...with money plowed into chains by financiers. Of course they couldn't compete...no matter how good the service.

Walmart dictates prices to manufacturers...and gets huge discounts. Other firms don't have the financial clout to do that. and are being driven under...by money.

With or without government, American business history is nothing more than big fish gobbling up the little fish from steel and railroads to oil and auto manufacturing..

Small family farms have disappeared...taken over by industrialized agriculture. Money talks louder than the consumer...except in the neighborhood shopping strip. Only there is a rude, price gouging retailer given the boot by consumers.

Read the labels on your supermarket goodies. more often than not, the "brands" that were once independent are now owned by a few conglomerates.

The facts, unfortunately, don't fit the ideology.

When people get it together, they voluntarily form governments. If successful, they form a democratic one to represent themselves. If they don't voluntarily participate in their democracy, they lose it....as now. Even there, "volunteerism" functions on shaky ground.

Libertarians seek to maintain structures that promote wealth inequalities....never seeming to notice that in the historical past, whenever concentrations of wealth were encouraged or allowed....wealth ultimately captures government to serve its own ends. The only time that doesn't occur is in egalitarian societies.

When in history has that not been so?

Libertarianism (the modern day version) is ideologically based, not fact based.

It would be interesting to see one of them quote the early libertarian, Bainer..."Labor which creates all should have all". Not likely. Original libertarianism conflicts with current libertarian ideology. I find that funny,

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

#1. Oil companies do hire their own personal armies. They're called security guards. Would they fight wars? No. They don't have that kind of money. (ie, unlimited counterfeit) #2, no. Wall St. wouldn't have had debt to buy if interest rates were not manipulated by government. Without a central bank, interest rates are determined by the supply (savings) and demand (loans) of money. A bubble can't form under this structure. When savings are loaned out, interest rates must rise to inspire more savings and fewer loans. The fact that Clinton repealed Glass-Steagall and allowed investment firms to merge with commerical banks only added a little fuel to an already raging inferno. Booms and busts are always caused by monetary policy; nothing more, nothing else.

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