Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

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Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by bobalot » 2008-10-11 12:05am

I'm wondering if you guys have found ways to attack the typical arguments libertarians come up with? I'm debating a libertarian now, and it's the usual bullshit that frustrates me.

I would point out the examples of free market deregulation and privatization that are generally described as failures. The response I always get back its:

1) Privatization went bad because the government did it.

2) We don't have a totally "free" market, ours is still socialist.


The problem I have with argument [1], is that the guy doesn't seem to understanding the fucking concept of privatization, which is the transfer of government assets to private hands. Who the fuck else is going to undertake privatization? I know that if privatization goes well, this arsehole would give credit to his libertarian ideals for the success. If it goes badly, it's the governments fault. At no point is the idea that privatization itself was a bad idea can be challenged by results (I find empiricism is something Libertarians seem to avoid). He has set up this idea in such a way, that it cannot actually fail, which to me reeks of bullshit.

The problem I have with argument [2], is that this tool is basically saying "If only we had a system never sullied by actual real world experience, things would work out perfectly." Once again, totally reeks of bullshit and avoidance of real world empirical data. It's the same argument communists use. You point out the crapiness of the soviet union, and they start blathering on about it not being a "true" communist state, about being in reality a dictatorial capitalist state to serve the elite etc. etc. The point is, the system was close enough to the ideal for us to know that it sucked.

This guy is the first to take credit when deregulation increases profits etc. But as soon the shit hits the fan, he will quickly say that it wasn't done "enough" or "correctly".

I know in Sydney. Our airport was privatized. What did we get? Shittier service, some of the most expensive parking fees in the world, increased fees for just about everything, the train ticket from the airport station (which the private company owns, not the public rail company) is fucking ridiculously expensive etc. Anybody with a brain would tell you that privatizing a natural monopoly like an international airport (Many cities can only really support one), is a fucking stupid idea, as there cannot be any competition.

This guy truly believes that if the government "got out of the way", that a competitor would come in a build a second airport to compete. I ask how: they would get all the planning, negotiation of air routes (Presumably without the usual regulator, as in this fantasy land, the regulator would not exist), land, massive amounts of capital, presumably an a rail connection etc. physically done without the government, the enigmatic answer "the market will find a way" is given. Kind of like "God will provide", except even more shameless, as people like this guy aspire to be "rational".

Is there anyway to call this guys bullshit? Or am I beating my head against a brick wall? :banghead:
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Mayabird » 2008-10-11 12:15am

Thing is, we're talking about people who start with the assumption that government is bad and go from there, rather than seeing "smaller government" as a means to an end. First thing you should probably do (right after this thing gets punted to Debating Help, as I'm guessing will happen) is ask this guy, "What's so bad about government?" Try to make him define and nail down this assumption that government = EVIL rather than let him just start there and go on without ever thinking about it, because otherwise you won't get anywhere.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by PeZook » 2008-10-11 06:30am

What Mayabird said. But I wonder what do you mean about him not being big on empiricism?

If he flat out rejects real world examples, then I'm afraid there is nothing much you can do. You will inevitably get bogged down in bullshit arguments separated from any sort of reality.

With the airport question (and any similar ones, really) you can ask him "What's to stop the current, established airport owner from firebombing the new guy's house?"

It's not like people can just boycott international air travel in protest, especially from a place like Australia :D
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Rogue 9 » 2008-10-11 07:54am

PeZook wrote:With the airport question (and any similar ones, really) you can ask him "What's to stop the current, established airport owner from firebombing the new guy's house?"
The police, presumably. He said libertarian, not anarchist.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by PeZook » 2008-10-11 08:08am

Rogue 9 wrote: The police, presumably. He said libertarian, not anarchist.
Anarchism is a libertarian philosophy, isn't it?
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by FireNexus » 2008-10-11 09:12am

I think we could use a number of examples of failed deregulation efforts, focusing mostly on deregulation completed for its own sake.

Is there anywhere on the net that has a detailed breakdown of problems resulting from deregulation? Bonus points when the regulation previously in place would easily have avoided this suffering.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by ArcturusMengsk » 2008-10-11 09:44am

PeZook wrote:
Rogue 9 wrote: The police, presumably. He said libertarian, not anarchist.
Anarchism is a libertarian philosophy, isn't it?
Socially, yes. The predominant anarchist philosophy until very recently, however, was decidedly left-wing economically, exemplified by figures such as Mikhail Bakunin and Max Stirner. Indeed, the word 'libertarian' itself was originally applied to these anti-state collectivists by themselves, before it was co-opted by radical corporatist elements.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Broomstick » 2008-10-11 11:51am

Rogue 9 wrote:
PeZook wrote:With the airport question (and any similar ones, really) you can ask him "What's to stop the current, established airport owner from firebombing the new guy's house?"
The police, presumably. He said libertarian, not anarchist.
That, and it can be remarkably difficult to hit a target when dropping crap from an airplane.

Um.... I hasten to add that I confine dropping things from airplanes strictly to highly controlled "flour drops" at fly ins and all pertinent FAA regulations. Oh, alright, there was that kleenex two summers ago, but highly unlikely to cause damage...

Maybe I should just shut up now.
This guy truly believes that if the government "got out of the way", that a competitor would come in a build a second airport to compete. I ask how: they would get all the planning, negotiation of air routes (Presumably without the usual regulator, as in this fantasy land, the regulator would not exist), land, massive amounts of capital, presumably an a rail connection etc. physically done without the government, the enigmatic answer "the market will find a way" is given. Kind of like "God will provide", except even more shameless, as people like this guy aspire to be "rational".
Speaking as someone from the USA, which is about as wide-open for aviation as anyplace and any damn fool who uses a lawnmower to mark out a turf landing strip can have it officially declared an airport....

Yes, it IS possible to have two airports, even two major, international hubs, in the same city. Chicago, for instance, has both O'Hare and Midway. Both have rail connections. Midway started as a private concern (and it looks like it will soon be privatized) and O'Hare was a city government project (still is). Their airspaces overlap significantly, and yet it's all worked out for decades. However, they exist in a metropolitan area of about 7 to 8 million people. You need a BIG city to support two airports of that nature.

We have smaller airports in the area, too, many privately owned, but closer than about 15-20 km is impractical because of airplane proximity in the air. So... it's possible to have competing airports in close proximity. I'm sorry dude, but I'm afraid that there are real life examples against your argument. That doesn't mean it's likely for any one city to have two competing major airports, but it is certainly possible.

Um... New York City has two airports as well, JFK and LaGuardia, but another in New Jersey in close proximity. Washington, DC has both National and Dulles. Ya, two big hubs for one city is not the norm, but it's not unknown, either.

A better tactic might be to explore how government facilitates the existence of two such airports, and how private competition can work against it. Even there, though, I don't see any inherent obstacles to competing neighboring airports whether privately or publicly owned.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Broomstick » 2008-10-11 11:52am

FireNexus wrote:Is there anywhere on the net that has a detailed breakdown of problems resulting from deregulation? Bonus points when the regulation previously in place would easily have avoided this suffering.
Um.... how about the current financial free-fall in "the markets"? Loosening of home loan requirements had a lot to do with that, at least in the US.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by RedImperator » 2008-10-11 12:13pm

Off to Debate Help.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Rogue 9 » 2008-10-12 01:26pm

PeZook wrote:
Rogue 9 wrote: The police, presumably. He said libertarian, not anarchist.
Anarchism is a libertarian philosophy, isn't it?
That depends on which side of the Atlantic you're on. In Europe it tends to mean that, yes, because the term was adopted by anarchist groups looking for something else to call themselves after "anarchism" as such was outlawed in France in the 1890s. Groups calling themselves libertarian in the United States tend to be minarchist rather than anarchist. And that's before you get into groups and people who refer to themselves as "civil libertarians," which means a belief in the paramount importance of civil liberties, but doesn't necessarily imply Libertarian Party economic policies.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Phillip Hone » 2008-10-12 06:19pm

Broomstick wrote:
FireNexus wrote:Is there anywhere on the net that has a detailed breakdown of problems resulting from deregulation? Bonus points when the regulation previously in place would easily have avoided this suffering.
Um.... how about the current financial free-fall in "the markets"? Loosening of home loan requirements had a lot to do with that, at least in the US.
I know a lot of libertarians who are saying that the banks didn't want to give out bad loans, but were forced to do so anyway by the government. They basically blame the entire current financial crisis on government coercion. So they can again declare that deregulation was the answer, and that regulation itself was the original problem.

What would be the best response to that argument?

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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2008-10-13 01:48am

The best response to that is "Prove it." They're asserting that banks were forced to give out loans they knew would go belly up. They need to provide proof of that.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Rogue 9 » 2008-10-13 12:32pm

Napoleon the Clown wrote:The best response to that is "Prove it." They're asserting that banks were forced to give out loans they knew would go belly up. They need to provide proof of that.
When asked, if the Libertarian in question is not just parroting what he's heard, he'll point to the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires FDIC-regulated banks to "meet the credit needs of [their] entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods."
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2008-10-14 03:59am

Except...
(b) It is the purpose of this title to require each appropriate Federal financial supervisory agency to use its authority when examining financial institutions, to encourage such institutions to help meet the credit needs of the local communities in which they are chartered consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions.
Relevant bolded. Giving out obviously bad loans is still entirely optional.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-14 04:25am

bobalot wrote:I would point out the examples of free market deregulation and privatization that are generally described as failures. The response I always get back its:

1) Privatization went bad because the government did it.

2) We don't have a totally "free" market, ours is still socialist.
Interestingly enough, Marxists often respond to attacks on communism by saying the following:

1) Communism went bad because a power elite was still in charge.

2) We never had a totally communist economy; there were still elements of capitalism.

Sound familiar? If a system is claimed to work in the real world, it is up to its backers to prove it. They can't get away with appealing to ignorance forever.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by RedImperator » 2008-10-14 02:09pm

Rogue 9 wrote:
Napoleon the Clown wrote:The best response to that is "Prove it." They're asserting that banks were forced to give out loans they knew would go belly up. They need to provide proof of that.
When asked, if the Libertarian in question is not just parroting what he's heard, he'll point to the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires FDIC-regulated banks to "meet the credit needs of [their] entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods."
I'm sure you're aware of this, but for those who aren't, this is a bunch of shit. Wiki link (I know it's Wiki, but the article is fully cited and I didn't feel like posting to a bunch of PDFs). CRA loans were, on average, much safer than loans made companies not regulated by the CRA. By law, CRA loans had to be safe and fully documented, and the predatory bullshit which caused so many people to go broke (ARMs, balloon payments) were not allowed. And even if the CRA was responsible for subprime loans, for God damn sure it wasn't a bunch of poor inner-city minorities who were packaging those loans into securities and leveraging the entire banking industry up to its eyeballs to buy and sell them, nor were they selling fucking insurance on them.

This CRA bullshit is just a disgusting attempt by rich white bankers and their Congressional Republican butt boys to blame their criminal fuckups on poor black people. Once again, Rogue, I know you're not actually making that argument, but people need to know what kind of horseshit it actually is.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Count Chocula » 2008-10-14 02:30pm

bobalot wrote:
1) Privatization went bad because the government did it.

2) We don't have a totally "free" market, ours is still socialist.
Maybe I'm a bad Libertarian, but neither of those responses strike me as very intelligent. Argument 1 seems to start with a false premise; privatization is defined by answers.com as
1. The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a government to a privately owned entity.
As you noted, the person you're debating fails to grasp the concept. If he is really setting up a "free market wins, government sucks" argument then he fails Logic 101. A simple counter would be pointing to the fact that Republicans and some Democrats also desire privatization of enterprises as a general principle, and that it's not just a Libertarian ideal. It's a smaller, more efficient government ideal.

As far as Point 2 goes, well, that's just breathtaking in its stupidity. Language is at best an imprecise tool, and to paint an entire economic system with the "Socialist" paintbrush is mental laziness of the first order. Plus, it's wrong. We have a heavily, and often poorly, regulated market, but most actors in it are free to make their own decisions within the confines of regulation, law, and economic ability. A Socialist economy is a command economy, where the central government owns and controls every business in its sphere of influence, and often controls individuals' actions, careers and opportunities. That is NOTHING like the systems we have in the First World, not even in Europe or Sweden.

Really, if this guy can't even get the fundamentals right, why bother debating him? He sounds like someone who read Atlas Shrugged (so did I) and listened to a few Ron Paul speeches or snippets, and then concluded that "I izz uh libbertarian I'ze smarter den yuuu!" He could benefit from a lot more thought on the subject before he takes finger to keyboard again.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Count Chocula » 2008-10-14 02:32pm

Ghetto edit for your 'friend's' education.

Merriam-Webster definition #2 for Socialism:
2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
Ask him to define libertarianism for you without looking it up. My guess is he will garner an epic fail.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Darth Wong » 2008-10-15 10:42am

Count Chocula wrote:Ghetto edit for your 'friend's' education.

Merriam-Webster definition #2 for Socialism:
2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
Ask him to define libertarianism for you without looking it up. My guess is he will garner an epic fail.
That is definition #2 because it is not the generally accepted one, since it is basically identical to the definition of communism which Marx himself distinguished sharply from socialism. And frankly, that definition only exists because many people subscribe to that misinterpretation.

You ignored definition #1, which is the most prominent and well-accepted one. Socialism is not the same thing as communism, and the US economy is indeed socialist, with numerous socialist ideas in place such as a welfare "safety net", public education, etc.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Count Chocula » 2008-10-15 11:13am

From Merriam-Webster:
1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
The key to this definition, IMO, is that these are defined as theories advocating........the means of production and distribution of goods (definition #2 indicates an operational social system). I'm considering money & banking as facilitating production & distribution of goods, not goods in and of themselves. In economic practice, America is more "Capitalist"(another loaded term) than Socialist. There exists overlap, of course: Boeing is not owned by the government but is dependent on military contracts for much of its revenue, and then there's the Post Office and AMTRAK. I suppose you could condsider the FDA and FCC as partially administering production, within their respective areas of influence.

Socially, however, you are right - there are a lot of "common welfare" policies and systems in place. Not that it's doing our K-12 educational system here in Florida any good...
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by Rogue 9 » 2008-10-15 03:40pm

Hilariously enough, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor here in Indiana proposes expanding public education at the K-12 level, to levels beyond even those advocated by the Democrat and Republican; he wants high school to be good enough to make university education for non-specialist fields redundant.

Pipe dream? Probably, but it illustrates just how broadly the term "libertarian" applies here in the United States. He wishes to force the state government to adhere to the state constitution, which per Article 8 includes a mandate for state-funded (rather than local property tax funded, as the system stands now) common schools. He claims, and I can't see any fault with his reasoning, that this would return equality to the school systems, rather than having good schools and bad ones with the distinction largely dependent on local property values.

Anyway, the pertinent point as far as this thread is concerned is that when someone says he's a libertarian, he could mean any number of things ranging from it being code for market anarchist to simple strict constructionism vis-à-vis the law and constitutions, both state and federal.
RedImperator wrote:This CRA bullshit is just a disgusting attempt by rich white bankers and their Congressional Republican butt boys to blame their criminal fuckups on poor black people. Once again, Rogue, I know you're not actually making that argument, but people need to know what kind of horseshit it actually is.
Oh, I know. The title of the forum is "Debating Help," not "Do Other People's Debating For Them." I gave him the material he needed and expected him to work with it; if I thought the argument had merit, I'd be out making a thread about it.
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Re: Bullshit Libertarian Arguments.

Post by bobalot » 2008-10-16 05:46pm

Count Chocula wrote: Really, if this guy can't even get the fundamentals right, why bother debating him? He sounds like someone who read Atlas Shrugged (so did I) and listened to a few Ron Paul speeches or snippets, and then concluded that "I izz uh libbertarian I'ze smarter den yuuu!" He could benefit from a lot more thought on the subject before he takes finger to keyboard again.
I stopped talking to the guy after he kept repeating variations of those points. He would simply state things like "Private enterprise is ALWAYS superior to the government providing the service" or "Government services are ALWAYS run poorly". I would press him for evidence for the blanket statement, and offer examples of well run government services . But to no avail. Again, this aversion to empirical data.

There is no point debating ideologues, I suppose.
"This statement, in its utterly clueless hubristic stupidity, cannot be improved upon. I merely quote it in admiration of its perfection." - Garibaldi post.
"Problem is, while the Germans have had many mea culpas and quite painfully dealt with their history, the South is still hellbent on painting themselves as the real victims. It gives them a special place in the history of assholes" - Covenant
"Over three million died fighting for the emperor, but when the war was over he pretended it was not his responsibility. What kind of man does that?'' - Saburo Sakai.

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