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The Conversation Continues: Three reactions to my last Libertarian Democrat Post
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, October 19, 2006

A few days ago I put my reaction to the latest Kos piece about “Libertarian Democrats” at Cato Unbound up. It generated some reaction from three other bloggers and I’d like to address them one at a time.

As I explained then the difference, as I see it, between Democrats and libertarians can be found in the difference between the radical (material) egalitarianism that most Democrats support and the fact that libertarianism is based in the concept of liberty, and other than occasionally finding common ground on some issues, the concepts are incompatible.

Logan Ferree at Freedom Democrats took some exception to that:
More importantly, I question the claim about the relationship, or lack thereof, between libertarianism and egalitarianism. Murray Rothbard aside, some forms of libertarianism argue that egalitarianism, or something near to it, is a natural product of a true free market. This was once an early belief of American radicals, but the rise of inequalities of wealth and concentration of capital were taken as a refutation of this belief. But with the insight offered by revisionist historians like Gabriel Kolko, I believe there may be reason to return to these fundamentally American ideals.
I second his call to return to “fundamentally American ideals” but I'd suggest that it is a very limited call to egalitarianism. And, in fact, I noted those areas where libertarians and liberals do indeed have agreement in terms of egalitarianism. They’re primarily to be found in the law. In essence, we agree that all men are created equal and as such should have equal treatment under the law. We also agree that there should be an equality of opportunity for all. But we pretty much break after that. In my previous post I was fairly clear in making that distinction:
Most libertarians have no problem with some egalitarian inclinations in the realm of politics (one-man-one-vote, equal representation, equal access) or the law. However Democrats believe in a much more extreme version of egalitarianism than do libertarians, to the extent that Democrats support the use of coercion through government to "right" and "balance" perceived wrongs in the economic arena with redistribution and the social arena through such programs as Affirmative Action. They see no ideological conflict between their version of egalitarianism and the use of state sponsored discrimination to ensure it.
It is the application of this radical form of egalitarianism, mostly concentrated in the social and economic realms and pursued at the expense of liberty, which separate us permanently. Certainly, in the area I’ve noted, we can find common cause, and, when we do, we should exploit it.

However, and this is fundamental and important, the differences are based in radically different premises. Let Friedrich Hayek explain. From The Constitution of Liberty:
From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently.

Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other, but not at the same time
. The equality before the law which freedom requires leads to material inequality. Our argument will be that though where the state must use coercion for other reasons, it should treat all people alike, the desire of making people more alike in their condition cannot be accepted in a free society as a justification for further and discriminatory coercion.
It is that further inclusion of the “desire of making people more alike in their condition” (or material equality) to which libertarians object because it is an assault on freedom and liberty since it requires discriminatory coercion to implement. And, since it does, it is anti-liberty.

Hayek continues:
We do not object to equality as such. It merely happens to be the case that a demand for equality is the professed motive of those who desire to impose upon society a preconceived pattern of distribution. Our objection is against all attempts to impress upon society a deliberately chosen pattern of distribution, whether it be an order of equality or of inequality. We shall indeed see that many of those who demand an extension of equality do not really demand equality but a distribution which more conforms more closely to human conceptions of individual merit and their desires are irreconcilable with freedom as the more strictly egalitarian demands.
His point of course is any pattern of distribution chosen, no matter how carefully and with the best of intentions is arbitrary and infringes on the freedom of those who are coerced into “giving” or “contributing” their property or assets. Again, a concept which is anti-liberty and anti-freedom.

How many times do we have to read Democratic laments about CEO’s wages, minimum wages, wage gaps, stock holders, “winners of life’s lottery” and unions to understand their principles of egalitarianism are a perfect fit for what Hayek is describing as “irreconcilable with freedom?”

And here’s the most important point, the point which irreconcilably (to over use a word) separates libertarians from Democrats of any flavor. Again, Hayek:
If one objects to the use of coercion in order to bring about a more even or more just distribution, this does not mean that one does not regard these as desirable. But if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.
So given that we libertarians reject the very principle which underpins the Democratic ideological foundation, namely radical (material) egalitarianism, is there ever a point where we could work together?
 
Last Hayek, I promise, but it is important:
Wherever there is a legitimate need for government action and we have to choose between different methods of satisfying such a need, those that incidentally also reduce inequality may well be preferable.
Note the point. The reduction of inequality is fine if pursued as an incidental product of a “legitimate need for government action” and not as an end in itself. He provides some examples:
If, for example, in the law of intestate succession one kind of provision will be more conducive to equality than another, this may a strong argument in its favor. It is a different matter, however, if it is demanded that, in order to produce substantive equality, we should abandon the basic postulate of a free society, namely, the limitation of all coercion by equal law. Against this we shall hold that economic inequality is not one of the evils which justify our resorting to discriminatory coercion or privilege as a remedy.
You get the picture. A material or radical egalitarianism which subscribes to coercion in the name of material equality isn’t compatible with libertarian principles.

And that brings us to the critiques of Mona and Anonymous Liberal.

First AL:
What I always find is missing from this debate is the understanding that American politics is THE most economically libertarian in the world. We need some perspective, people. Both the Republican and Democratic parties in this country are WAY more libertarian than any major political party in any other first world country. We have much lower taxes than the rest of the world, much less regulation, and far fewer government programs. So let’s keep that in mind.
And the point here is to try to keep it that way and try to improve on it. But to the meat:
Second, though I realize that most people who self-identify as libertarians in this country tend to be driven more by economic libertarianism than social/civil libertarianism (if they weren’t, they would all have been voting Democratic a long time ago), isn’t it time to rethink those priorities, especially in light of the point I made above? After all, which is a bigger threat to liberty, a slightly higher marginal tax rate on the top 2% or a law giving the president the authority to detain whomever his pleases without charges?
In fact, both (granting, in arguendo, that AL’s characterization of the “authority” granted the president is what he claims it is) are assaults on liberty. It isn’t matter of which is worse, it’s a matter that both comprise threats to our liberty. AL is of the opinion, apparently, that one is acceptable simply because it may not be as big a threat (yet) as the other. All I can say is you don't know libertarians very well if you think that will sell.

AL also seems to think that it’s all about money, but if he takes the time to read Hayek’s points, he’ll understand that in reality it is all about coercion and its illegitimate use. It just so happens, in most cases, that the examples which are readily available happen in the world of economics through redistribution schemes such as welfare. But as I mentioned, there are plenty of examples of social coercion championed by Democrats, such as Affirmative Action, which are precisely what Hayek is arguing against and pointing too as coercive and thus anti-freedom.

And lastly:
And why are American libertarians so oblivious to the enhanced personal and economic freedom that comes with universal healthcare? People in other countries who want to quit their job and follow their dream or go into business for themselves don’t have to worry about what will happen if they get sick. Many Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs or scared of going out on their own because they have some sort of medical condition or because they won’t be able to provide health insurance to their family. That’s a HUGE problem and a huge obstacle to meaningful personal and economic liberty. People always talk about preserving choice, but I’d much rather have the choice to do what I want for a living than the choice of which crappy HMO to join (and let’s be honest, most people don’t even have that choice).
Again, referencing Hayek, it should be apparent why American libertarians do not buy into the concept that a coerced form of healthcare somehow enhances “personal and economic freedom”. In terms of freedom, it is a myth. It does nothing to enhance it, and in fact, by removing choice, in fact, reduces it. But this myth of “enhanced freedom” is how material egalitarians try to sell that system. And any libertarian worth his salt recognizes and rejects the sales job out of hand.

Moving on to Mona, she mostly agreed with what I said, but took some exception to parts of it:
There is nothing "new" or "libertarian-flavored" about a breed of Democrats which still advocates safety-net welfare programs and public funding of education and health care or sees corporations as the enemy instead of engines of commerce. And, of course only a Democrat can see a corporation, and not the government, as a potential threat to individual liberties. And all of this talk about them struggling to find a coherent philosophy, is a smoke-screen. What they're trying to do is find a more appealing way to present the same old nonsense of big government welfarism to a voting faction which rejects it outright.
Mona thinks it may be the job of government to provide “safety-net welfarism” as long as it is “not part of some income redistribution scheme, and was not monopolistic”.

I’d simply ask, what if it fit both of those criteria but was coercive? Or said another way, what if you have no choice but to participate and can’t opt out? Because that describes the status of our and almost every other welfare state's system. That’s because without coercion to force participation they’d collapse as people found better and more productive uses of their assets. And, of course, the state won’t allow that, will it?

Of course Mona does qualify her support:
Myself, I do not think there is anything wrong with making sure that an indigent, mentally ill person who requires life-saving emergency care has his needs paid for by the government; that is not egalitarianism run amok. But that doesn't mean I support a cradle-to-grave Welfare State, and there is an ocean of difference between these two extremes; as Hayek argues, a full-blown welfare state invariably must be coercive and destructive of liberty.
But unfortunately while well intentioned, it falls short. The brutal truth is government can’t ‘pay’ for anything. It can only redistribute. So while I might agree that it is “good” to make sure that an indigent, mentally ill person who requires life-saving emergency care has his needs fulfilled, I’m not going to fool myself into believing that if government pays there wasn’t any coercion involved. However I would see nothing wrong with those who might consider that a “good” for which they didn’t mind paying and helped pay for the treatment of the indigent, or, in fact, the hospital giving the care as charity and a write off.

That, of course, is unacceptable to the material egalitarians who simply reject the notion that without government forcing us to ‘contribute’, his care wouldn’t be covered by payment. And, unfortunately, that’s the implication Mona’s example leaves with me.

Given that inclination, it came as no surprise to me when she said:
The GOP doesn't want us, so I see no harm, and only potential benefit, in continuing to negotiate with the Democrats. We might bring them around a bit, in a way we no longer have any ability to do with the Republicans. And, as has always been true vis-a-vis us and the GOP, there is no reason for us to expect to get everything we want...
No there is no expectation that we’ll get everything we want, at least on my part. In fact, given their foundational commitment to material egalitarianism, I can’t fathom getting anything I might want except by accident (as an incidental by-product rather than the point of an effort).

So again, I’ll close by saying that while, as Mona claims, the GOP may not want us, that doesn’t mean that the Democrats do, or that we want them. As I said, sometimes neither party will do.
 
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Many Americans are stuck in dead-end jobs or scared of going out on their own because they have some sort of medical condition or because they won’t be able to provide health insurance to their family. That’s a HUGE problem and a huge obstacle to meaningful personal and economic liberty. People always talk about preserving choice, but I’d much rather have the choice to do what I want for a living than the choice of which crappy HMO to join (and let’s be honest, most people don’t even have that choice
No thanks. All that amounts to is accepting slavery in return for material well-being. Let’s take a nice, beautifully controversial look at the actual institution of slavery in the antebellum United States. It afforded slaves a roof over their heads, clothing, food, and regular medical treament. This wasn’t out of any sense of kindness on the part of their owners, but was rather the same sort of financial common sense that drives us to change the oil in our cars regularly, use the correct octane fuel in them, do the scheduled maintenence, and park them under cover of a garage or carport. If a slave was underfed or ill, he or she could produce nothing resulting in zero profit. Slaveowners had a massive financial motivation to care for their slaves.

What AL is proposing here is the same old-gag. In return for our liberty, we will be gifted with guaranteed material well-being (free universal healthcare, etc.). IMHO, anyone who claims to be a libertarian will immediately see this offer for what it is : the antithesis of liberty.

To borrow from Benjamin Franklin, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Lately, this quote has been applied to the ongoing GWOT security increases, however it is equally applicable to the encroachment of economic liberties. That’s a point that far, far too many Democrats and civil libertarians ignore in their desire to appear to be more "libertarian" than the GOP’ers. You want my vote? Embrace David Nolan’s 5 indispensible points.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Seems to me to many libertarians want to convince themselves that the devil on the left is better then the devil on the right.

I can appreciate the desire to block a monopoly of power or voting for people who’ll fight harder against civil rights abuses, but to convince yourself that getting in bed with statists (and worse) is more then a temporary alliance...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
I see this as a pretty clear difference of fundamental views.

1. The Democrat trusts in government, whereas the libertarian distrusts government.

2. The Democrat trusts government to identify societal ills and correct them. The libertarian believes that a government that exceeds its constitutional bounds is a societal ill.

3. The Democrats believe that the government should drive the economy. The libertarian believes the market should drive the economy.

4. The Democrat ultimately believes that the government should decide what is right and wrong, and how the populace should live—provided it’s a government with which they agree. The libertarian believes that individuals should be free to choose right from wrong, that we can live individually and so long as others do not endanger my well-being or liberty they can do as they please.

These are dogmatic issues, which is why I doubt the two idealogies could come together and agree on much of anything. Kos simply fails to understand this. To him, personal freedoms are part and parcel of a liberal/socialist government, not the absence of government.
 
Written By: Joab
URL: http://joabsblog.blogspot.com
I have to post this here, as the "Freedom Democrats" apparently don’t practice the egalitarianism they preach and allow people to coment without a login....

"Some forms of libertarianism argue that egalitarianism, or something near to it, is a natural product of a true free market."

This means nothing. An "argument from authority" fallacy and nothing more. Egalitarianism is impossible based on the simple concept of division of labor. It is further flawed based on the reality that there exists human genius and achievement. Not all of us will be Einsteins, Da Vincis or Bill Gatess. Because a few crackpots believe differently is not a real argument.

"This was once an early belief of American radicals"

Another "argument from authority." Some American radicals half false beliefs. Why dredge these up again and pretend they are valid?

PS: The Ben Franklin quote above has been abused. The true quote is "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Please quote it correctly or don’t quote it at all.
 
Written By: T
URL: http://
To further compound that situation you have people such as myself who are reluctantly willing to give in to the idea of some weak form of social welfare
simply because we need it as an inoculation against full blown socialism.

The modern world with its endless demagogues, and sensationalist media will pull the heartstrings of the public at every unfortunate event. This will lead inevitably to situations like the "Great Society."

Life is a series of compromises so I am willing to compromise with the left, but do not pretend for a second that we are on the same side.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
T, the quote I borrowed from Franklin comes from several sources, among them, here. Although, you are perhaps right that the original quote may have been differently worded.

I find the quote as you have given it to still apply in the manner in which I used it, however. Were we to give up our economic liberty in exchange for the little material safety offered by nanny-state programs, we would no longer deserve our liberty or safety.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
To further compound that situation you have people such as myself who are reluctantly willing to give in to the idea of some weak form of social welfare
simply because we need it as an inoculation against full blown socialism.
And thank you, Herr Kanzler Bismarck. Although this idea worked temporarily in late 19th century Germany, look what happened to them 50 years later. Temporary alliance with the left? No thanks.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
So given that we libertarians reject the very principle which underpins the Democratic ideological foundation, namely radical (material) egalitarianism, is there ever a point where we could work together?
Just my opinion here, but this argument seems to have been created in an ideological vacuum.

Libertarians routinely vote for Republicans because of one or two rhetorical principals that are in line with libertarian thinking, smaller government, and reduced business regulation. Across the board, there are dozens of policy positions that R’s hold that are abhorent to libertarians. A libertarian MIGHT say that since the areas of commonality are central to Republican principles, that makes the differences "reconcilable".

I would agree that this is correct rhetorically, but in practice (read - REALITY), R’s are not remotely interested in either of the aforementioned principles.

So the question is not whether Democratic principals can be reconciled, but which of the three choices gives a libertarian the closest result to that which they seek.

A. Vote libertarian, who cares if they have no chance, if I keep voting, maybe they will one day have a chance.

B. Vote Republican, they sound kind of like me, even though what they do is completely antithetical to my principals and they seem to go out of their to waste money as if they want to insure that there is no money to spend on egalitarian programs, even though the money is just as wasted and coerced anyway. (Unless you are a neo-libertarian, which I just don’t get, and I read the wikipedia definition)

C. Vote Democrat, they want to use my money to fund programs to cause a more egalitarian society, and that is against my principals, but they tend to try to be fiscally responsible in order to have enough money to fund their programs, and as a practical matter, at least when they waste money, they tend to waste it into the hands of people that are going to put it right back into the economy as consumption.

D. None of the Above, wait for a libertarian utopia to open and move their. Somewhere where the government has all the power it needs to protect rights and property, but by some mystical force, they manage never to use that power for anything else.

I choose C, but I guess I am just a liberal that leans libertarian, not a REAL libertarian.

Also, somewhere along the line, we have to reconcile the idea of government, IS IT "OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE", or not? If not, why not? If it is, then when we rail against the government, aren’t we railing against ourselves?

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Neo-libertarians will never agree with Democrats or anyone else, because they are ideologues. They stick to their limited core beliefs without regard to how those beliefs impact on society at large or work out in particular instances.

Democrats are a coalition, representing a wide range or subgroups, some of whom are also ideologues. But for the most part, they are united only in that they tend to look at society as a whole, and they try to come up with ways to make it better.

Ideologues of any stripe make the job of trying to make society work harder. Socialism in Communist countries did not work because of uncompromising adherence to ideology without regard to results. Now we have the mantra of Free Markets as the cure-all and end-all of all social ills. Like all ideologies, it will not work well without the occasional reality check to see how it is working and for whom it is working and for whom it is not working and how to make it work for more people.

I have no gripe with Free Markets, using it only as an example.. I have a gripe with ideologues who remain stuck in the world of their ideas of how things should be and are blind and deaf to the problems, complesities and contradictions o the real world around them.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Libertarians routinely vote for Republicans because of one or two rhetorical principals that are in line with libertarian thinking, smaller government, and reduced business regulation.
Indeed. And there is no reason why, even with Democrats on certain issues, we couldn’t find "common cause" which is why I said in the post:
Certainly, in the area I’ve noted, we can find common cause, and, when we do, we should exploit it.
But that’s not the issue discussed in the post. Instead it’s about why libertarians are from Mars and Democrats from Venus.

And because of that, and as Jon said once, "we may not live with them, but we might occasionally spend the night".

What Kos and crew are attempting to do is entice us into living with them. And I’m saying, "ain’t gonna happen".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"but they tend to try to be fiscally responsible in order to have enough money to fund their programs"

hahahahahahaaha!

Of course this depends on one’s definition of ’fiscally responsible.’ I take it that you mean spending no more than is collected in taxes. Well, that’s a start, except remind me if the Dems have been part of the raiding of the so-called social security lock box? Is THAT fiscal responsibility?

But h*ll Cap, it’s easier to be ’fiscally responsible’ when you’re confiscating an ever greater portion of the earnings of the populace, something the Dems have a strong historic record of doing.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
So Laime, you’re an ideologue about ideologues? Your implied definition, however, is wrong; this is not the definition of an ideologue:
They stick to their limited core beliefs without regard to how those beliefs impact on society at large or work out in particular instances.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
The chances of the Poet not knowing that what he wrote about Ben was factually incorrect is not only close to zero, but exposed by his follow-up that it was basically "the same thing"...

"A little" and "essential" are opposing concepts and one as smart as the Poet surely understands this. The fact that he states that it "differently worded" as if the quote changed "a little" to "a small amount" is, let’s just say, suspicious.

EVERYbody by now knows all about the quote, how it was used by the left to pretend that they had historical support by one of the giants. All who continue to use it are doing so with clear intent.
 
Written By: Roger Thistle
URL: http://
Neo-libertarians will never agree with Democrats or anyone else, because they are ideologues.
Funny... that goes entirely against the definition of "neolibertarian" that the proprietors of this site go by.

Neolibertarians are about pragmatism; that’s basically what separates us from the Paleos.

And what McQ and a few others here are saying is, the Democrat Party as of now does not offer neolibertarians much in the way of real (pragmatic) gains. When offering a fig leaf to libertarians, they tend to try to dress up coercion as something other than what it is, and pretend like private "power" is interchangeable with government power as a thing to be feared and kept in check.

Well, it’s not.

Private coercive power goes no further than externalities and unchecked fraud; that’s about it. Other than that, the only "power" they have is to provide the best of all alternatives according to the expectations of their willing customers.

Government power, on the other hand, is based entirely on force of arms, the threat of said force, and the perceived legitimacy of both (do a mental thought experiment and see where the following experiment leads: the government asks for money, you say no. What happens next? And if they’re not successful in the next step? What do they try then?).

Government cannot pay for anything without first taking from someone else (yes, even printing money involves taking away from everyone else who holds that currency), and the vast majority of the time, they’re taking it from people who had to earn that money by getting someone else to agree voluntarily to trade it to them.
In other words, what private parties obtain through mutually beneficial trade, government takes without much care for whether the private party particularly wants to spend their money on after-school programs and F-22 fighters and bridges to nowhere.

Corporations that gather "undue power" to themselves, as actual coercive force is concerned, virtually always do so through government rather than by skirting around it, and the proposal that the solution to bought-off government power is to place even more power in the hands of bought-off legislators is obscene.

But they keep on trying. Their success will depend on some libertarians being stupid enough to think that a vote for the Democrats will send a message to the country that we want less government.

The best tactic in a representative democracy, if you can’t get a NOTA vote, is to vote for whoever best represents you regardless of whether they have a chance of winning. That sends the message to the other parties of how they have to change their behavior to better please you.
That perennial complaint that the major parties always take over an issue if it’s starting to get a third party some votes? That means voting third party gets their attention!

So if you hate the Democrats but want to punish the Republicans, don’t think your one vote swinging to the Dems is going to either win the election for the other side or send the right message. It will certainly fail on both counts. Instead you’ll send the message that you approve of the Democrats. Better to stay home!
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The chances of the Poet not knowing that what he wrote about Ben was factually incorrect is not only close to zero, but exposed by his follow-up that it was basically "the same thing"...

"A little" and "essential" are opposing concepts and one as smart as the Poet surely understands this. The fact that he states that it "differently worded" as if the quote changed "a little" to "a small amount" is, let’s just say, suspicious.

EVERYbody by now knows all about the quote, how it was used by the left to pretend that they had historical support by one of the giants. All who continue to use it are doing so with clear intent.
 
Written By: Roger Thistle
URL: http://
Yeah, well, don’t try and argue him off his strawman, he’d have to accept us for the diverse group we are.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Well, it might have made sense if he had some backing for his claim, but not only does it speak to a lack of depth of knowledge about neolibertarianism, but a comlete disregard for what neolibertarianism is. We weren’t even stereotyped; we were misidentified.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
"So Laime, you’re an ideologue about ideologues"

Yes, I am. I’ve never seen it happen that one or a limited set of ideas can resolve complex problems. Especially not, when they border on a blind faith in those ideas. Flexibility and a constant evaluation of results is a must, in my book.

Yes, I did read the DEFINITION OF NEO-LIBERTARIANISM, but I haven’t seen much of pragmatism in the major posters on this site. As a matter of fact, what I see is the rejection of concerns and ideas out of hand, just because they come with the wrong label, like Democrat.
And then, just to show how fair you are, you bring yourselves to say a few bad things about some Republican moves.

But you never, never, address the issues of the day in any realistic way. For esample, you, apparently, don’t like the UN. Okay, so what is your pragmatic way of dealing with the world aside from continuous military assault on some enemy or other?

But just to show how fair I am. I am equally disgusted with some of the Left-wing ideologues whose only ideology these days seems to be to want to win in the elections.


 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
The chances of the Poet not knowing that what he wrote about Ben was factually incorrect is not only close to zero, but exposed by his follow-up that it was basically "the same thing"...
Ok, since we’re going to nitpick this: the quote is only attributed to Franklin, no hard peer-reviewed scholarly evidence has been provided to demonstrate once-and-for-all that the original author of the quote in question was Benjamin Franklin. See here for further debate about the origins of the quote.

I gave the version of the quote most readily used; I later acknowledged to T, who objected to my chosen version, that using his preferred version resulted in the same meaning.
A little" and "essential" are opposing concepts and one as smart as the Poet surely understands this. The fact that he states that it "differently worded" as if the quote changed "a little" to "a small amount" is, let’s just say, suspicious.
Suspicious in what way, Roger? I am defending the cause of liberty, which is seemingly being sacrificed by those who are choosing to embrace an alliance with statists, however temporary. If you can demonstrate clearly that Franklin would have approved of this type of alliance, then please do so and I will retract my usage of the quote. Until that time, my understanding of Franklin is that he is opposing the idea of sacrificing liberty (essential, small, large, California King, etc.) for security (material, physical, etc.). Or are you just nitpicking again?
EVERYbody by now knows all about the quote, how it was used by the left to pretend that they had historical support by one of the giants. All who continue to use it are doing so with clear intent.
First of all, it seems that "everybody" does not, in fact, know all about this quote. Second, in a very specific context, the quote does support some of the positions espoused by the "left." And, yeah, I daresay that all who are continuing to use the quote are doing so with clear intent to use the quote. Have we been using it in a Freudian, unconscious manner before now?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Yes, I did read the DEFINITION OF NEO-LIBERTARIANISM, but I haven’t seen much of pragmatism in the major posters on this site.
And since you’ve been reading the site, what opportunities for pragmatism, politically speaking, have presented themselves?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Yes, I did read the DEFINITION OF NEO-LIBERTARIANISM, but I haven’t seen much of pragmatism in the major posters on this site. As a matter of fact, what I see is the rejection of concerns and ideas out of hand, just because they come with the wrong label, like Democrat.
Really? Well, I see the posters here developing long-winded arguments about just why certain accomodations can be made with the Democrats, but most cannot. They spend a great deal of time and text explaining themselves on the subject. They do not reject them "out of hand," or they wouldn’t be discussing tactical cooperation with Democrats, or why they disagree on the utility of a "None of the Above" vote, or on whether Democrats taking the House this November might ultimately be a good thing (even if we don’t feel much like *voting* for them to help them along).

In my opinion, Kos doesn’t even deserve as much consideration as he’s received from QandO — three long posts and counting. Kos is slapping lipstick on a pig in a cynical ploy to gather a few cheap votes from people who will not in any way be served by doing what he recommends. He senses disaffection with Republicans, and that’s like blood in the water to sharks like him.

He’s got his nose buried in the tactical dirt, 24/7, and his posts on "libertarian Democrats" are a joke because they only prove that he has no idea how to approach libertarians — despite his claim of being devoted to personal freedom. He’s not playing a different sport; he’s just playing for the other team, period.
And then, just to show how fair you are, you bring yourselves to say a few bad things about some Republican moves.
"A few bad things about some Republican moves"? Buddy, you must not have been reading QandO very long. I rarely see QandO’s main posters say anything complementary about the GOP, and I’ve been reading this blog for a pretty long time.

If and when they say something nice about Republicans, they’re usually addressing individual politicians rather than the party. For example, I have for some time now been an avowed partisan for Tom McClintock, a Republican who’s running (and pulling ahead in the race) for Lieutenant Governor in California. But am I excited about voting for Republicans straight down the ballot? Hell no.

Go down the front page. Right now. Read all the posts and tell me where they laud the GOP.
Or, let me save you some time. They have serious problems with both the current Republicans and the Democrats. Hell, they have problems with the Libertarian Party too, although they’re rarely even relevant enough to talk about.

McQ said not long ago:
Pity it’s come down to this ... a two-party system in which neither party is worthy of a single solitary vote.
That’s not "a few bad things." That’s a stinging rebuke of a party that’s not even doing a good job of being the "lesser evil."
But you never, never, address the issues of the day in any realistic way. For esample [sic], you, apparently, don’t like the UN. Okay, so what is your pragmatic way of dealing with the world aside from continuous military assault on some enemy or other?
That would require, fittingly enough, an extremely long and complex answer. People spend their whole lives studying the different ways to respond to international challenges and opportunities. The important thing about neolibertarians is that we actually believe in having a foreign policy to deal with the Big Bad World, where things aren’t all cut-and-dried. There’s plenty of room for disagreement within neolibertarianism on foreign policy, but it’s got a rather darker view of the international environment than many idealists do (Dale Franks has used the word "Hobbesian," though that strikes a lot of people the wrong way because of Hobbes’ decidedly illiberal prescriptions for dealing with that anarchic world).
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Okay, so what is your pragmatic way of dealing with the world aside from continuous military assault on some enemy or other?
We ally ourselves with like minded countries, say the G20 (which includes China and India.) We do the heavy lifting of regime change, they do the heavy lifting of nation building. And by like minded, I mean, countries who desire similar outcomes in a particular country, or area of the world. We only intervene when it is in our interests to do so, but, where is there not some economic interest in reforming a country. It would be better to act preemptively, diplomatically, and economically, then militarily. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so to speak.

But, that’s only one slice of the opinions that are on this site. And probably not the majority view either. Thomas Barnett, would be my inspiration for strategic thinking in this regard.

As for the rest of the arguments, "essential libery" vs other liberties. Is boarding a plane without a security check an "essential liberty?" I would say no. So, when we give up a little liberty, boarding planes w/o security checks, for safety, we are not violating Franklins principle.

Now, certainly, the security checks used to be handled privately, and could be much stricter based on the fact that airlines are private companies, and so could require (in a pure free-market environment) more or less security. If people stopped flying because of security issues, airlines would increase security.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
McQ: John Doe is a paranoid schizophrenic who believes Brown Shirts are chasing him and hears voices; he cannot function in the real world, much less work for a living. Mr. Doe is hit by a car and taken to an Emergency Room. Unless you are going to agree to laws that compel a hospital to save his life at their loss, or agree to laws that indemnify the hospital with tax dollars, Mr. Doe will die. Either way, some coercion is involved.

You say neo-libertarians are "pragmatists." Do you think the American public will buy any version of libertarianism which decrees that the hospital may pitch the dying Mr. Doe to the curb?

Why are not the John Does of the world something like victims of natural disasters, whom we compensate? Or do you object to even well-run FEMA reimbursement programs?
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
You say neo-libertarians are "pragmatists." Do you think the American public will buy any version of libertarianism which decrees that the hospital may pitch the dying Mr. Doe to the curb?
Interesting take on what I said. Where did I ever suggest "John Doe be kicked to the curb?

What I suggested is a non-coercive approach to takeing care of John Doe, or have you forgotten that as one of the foundational principles espoused by libertarians and Hayek?

And, by the way, "pragmatism" doesn’t mean throwing over principle. Instead it means finding methods which work within principle and the system in place, to advance liberty.
Or do you object to even well-run FEMA reimbursement programs?
Are they coercive? Are there alternatives we could enable? Do the alternatives advance liberty?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
When democrats increase government spending by 4 percent, and republicans increase government spending by 30%, it’s clear who is less coercive.

There is also an economic argument to be made for a minimal social safety net. A man with nothing to lose is far more dangerous and destructive than someone just schlepping along. For a society this is a small price to pay, paid for by the people who can afford to pay it. Redistribution? Technically I suppose, but any insurance policy coud be described in much the same way.
 
Written By: bago
URL: http://

 
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