Transcript: Libertarians, Unbreakable Rules, and Prevention, Sep 22 2006

Jeff in Denver, Colorado asked Thom: "Listening to your guest and listening to other Objectivists and Libertarians, they seem to be very much against rules, yet there are some rules where they adhere to more than anybody. I'd be very curious, because they keep saying, 'That's not right', what are those things, you know, what is that fundamentalist thing, what are those fundamental rules that they feel that you can never break? They keep talking about the individual."

Thom discusses Libertarians, unbreakable rules, & prevention, 22 September 2006

Thom had Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute on the show on Friday 22 September, and afterwards he received a call from Jeff in Denver, Colorado:

Jeff in Denver, Colorado: Listening to your guest and listening to other Objectivists and Libertarians, they seem to be very much against rules, yet there are some rules where they adhere to more than anybody. I'd be very curious, because they keep saying, 'That's not right', what are those things, you know, what is that fundamentalist thing, what are those fundamental rules that they feel that you can never break? They keep talking about the individual.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah, well, it rests on the, I don't wanna, first of all I'm not going to even try to speak for Alex. It wouldn't be fair to him ands I probably wouldn't do a good job of it. But my understanding of the Libertarian, Objectivist and modern Conservative viewpoint, and there are certainly a lot of differences between the three, but they have some of these things in common, is that they assert that the purpose of government should be to defend our rights, to basically "live free", and live free of government interference. And their idea of government interference is what they would call socialist programmes like public education. I mean, how dare somebody who doesn't have children for somebody who does have children for the education of their children? That would be one of their positions.

Now on the other side, what I would say, and what Americans have traditionally said, is, the reason for this is that we all benefit from it. If we all had an educated work force, if we all have people, you know, with a decent education and kids who are able to contribute to society, then we all functionally benefit from it. And that should be really the litmus test one of any kind of legislation - is this something that is going to benefit the majority of people or is this something that is only going to benefit a small minority? And this is, you know, one of the areas where I actually I agree with a lot of, you know, the serious conservatives like Ron Paul, the Republican from Texas. That this government, particularly this Republican government has run amok in giving away money to people like the oil industry and Halliburton and what not, that in no way is benefiting the majority of people, no way is contributing to infrastructure or democracy in the United States and is purely enriching a small number of people. And this is what Bernie Sanders identifies, because of the campaign finance reform, things are going nuts.

Jeff in Denver, Colorado: Yeah. Well, what's ironic, it seems, when they're talking, is they are so loose with so many things, they reject so much but yet they are such absolutists at the same time.

Thom Hartmann: Yeah, well, you know.

Jeff in Denver, Colorado: And the one thing that's been interesting talking to Libertarians that none have been able to answer, and realizing Alex is an Objectivist, not a Libertarian, is how does any of that prevent a problem? It's kind of like bad medicine, that has no preventative aspect, and no one's ever been able to answer satisfactorily how Libertarianism prevents things.

Thom Hartmann: Thom: No, it doesn't; it has to react to harm. In other words, you don't stop people from emitting a poison until you see people die from it, you don't proactively do that. Yeah, good point, Jeff. Thanks for the call.

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