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It’s like they knew I’d be looking
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, October 19, 2006

Seriously. After writing my latest tome on why, as a libertarian, I can't support voting for Democrats, it's as though the left took pity on me and worked hard to make my point.

Like The American Prospect:
We reaffirm the great principle of liberalism: that every citizen is entitled by right to the elementary means to a good life. We believe passionately that societies should afford their citizens equal treatment under the law — regardless of accidents of birth, race, sex, property, religion, ethnic identification, or sexual disposition. We want to redirect debate to the central questions of concern to ordinary Americans — their rights to housing, affordable health care, equal opportunity for employment, and fair wages, as well as physical security and a sustainable environment for ourselves and future generations.
Notice how quickly we got past the "equal treatment under the law" to the "equal treatment in housing" part.

Yup, no coercion inherent in that bit of 'equality' is there?

Then there's our friend, Ned Lamont, who, apparently, is trying out the new Democratic theme:
Ned Lamont uses it in his Connecticut Senate race. President Clinton is scheduled to speak on the idea in Washington this week. Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania candidate for Senate, put it in the title of his talk at The Catholic University of America _ then repeated the phrase 29 times.

The term is "common good," and it's catching on as a way to describe liberal values and reach religious voters who rejected Democrats in the 2004 election. Led by the Center for American Progress, a Washington think-tank, party activists hope the phrase will do for them what "compassionate conservative" did for the Republicans.

"It's a core value that we think organizes the entire political agenda for progressives," said John Halpin, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "With the rise of materialism, greed and corruption in American society, people want a return to a better sense of community _ sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty."
And "contributions". Don't forget the "contributions".

Oh, and Republicans? Don't even try.
Republicans have used the phrase, too. GOP Sen. Rick Santorum, who faces Casey, a fellow Catholic, in November, wrote a book last year titled, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good." But liberals say that Republican policies promote a "radical individualism" _ advocating individual retirement accounts above Social Security, health savings accounts over affordable insurance, and tax cuts that Democrats say benefit only the rich.
Yeah, geez. IRAs instead of a government run pension. HSA's to manage your own health care regime instead of "affordable insurance", which we all know is a code phrase for that great liberal panacea, government run health care.

Yes, individualists are not welcome here ... its all about the "common good" now. — Coming to a soap box, political flyer, bumper sticker and TV screen in your neighborhood soon. Watch for it! —

And lest we forget, a review what of Democrats really mean when they say "common good" delivered by Ms. Clinton for your edification:

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good".

Fair warning.
 
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"We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good".
Sadly, it’s not just Hillary and the Dems who believe this now. The Republicans have abandoned their roots—for which they named themselves—and are depriving us of our liberty for what they believe to be the common good. The difference betwixt the two parties is what they consider the common good: the Patriot Act versus socialized medicine and the like.

Neither of the two major parties tolerates dissidents; just look at Joe Lieberman and John McCain. Though in the latter’s case he dissents for personal gain.
 
Written By: Joab
URL: http://joabsblog.blogspot.com
Just curious, joab, which liberties have do you think the GOP has deprived us of?

re Lieberman, a more apt comparison (based upon the nutroots allegations just how far lieberman wandered off the reservation) would be Chafee whom the RNC unquestionalby backed during primary, and is backing for the general.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://


"We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good".

Not me, suckers. I’m poor as dirt and looking forward to to some mighty-fine expanded student-loan packages, cheaper prescripton drugs, and elevated minimum wages putting upward pressure on my own crappy salary, paid for out of the taxes of my parents.

Time to go crack a victory beer. My long nightmare of frugality and personal responsibility is coming to an end. Bring on the welfare state!



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Time to go crack a victory beer. My long nightmare of frugality and personal responsibility is coming to an end. Bring on the welfare state!
See, that’s why I like you, glasnost. Honesty.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Democrats are not interested in equal treatment under the law, they are interested in equal results under the law, which means they are interested in no law at all.

The liberal "social justice" ideal is inconsistent with the rule of law. A law is a general rule, applied equally to everyone, that can be known before it’s applied.

A general rule, applied equally to everyone, can only produce indiscriminate results. Indiscriminate results are the very opposite of what is desired by Democrats. It’s impossible to create a general rule, equally applied and knowable beforehand, that can meet the requirements of "social justice".
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
"Social rights" cannot co-exist with liberal rights to property. "Rights" to housing, education, food, and medicine are all claims on the fruits of someone else’s labor. By granting a general "right" to that which is produced by the building trades and landowners, farmers, teachers, health care workers, etc., government is to some extent enslaving them by underpaying them and controlling their work. And this isn’t mere hyperbole. Ask American public school teachers and Canadian doctors if they feel enslaved.

And surely you’ve noticed that there’s no similar social right to the full services of the legal profession :)

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
THANK HEAVENS, we can now solve all our problems.
All we have to do is get those horrible words, THE COMMOM GOOD, out of here.

No need to worry about crime or defense or our enemies, because all of that nonsense involves that devil’s brew: the common good. Actually, there will be no more need for government or for courts or traffic laws, either. Those are all juat pesky symptoms of the cause of all ills: the nasty, nasty notion of a common good.

And it’s so easy on the brain! No need to worry about what the common good might actually mean in balancing the private vs. society’s interests and liberties. No need to think at all.
Just go happily to sleep. Problems all solved.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Laime: Who the hell is "society," and why does its interest need to be balanced against that of the private individuals who actually make up that society?

Please, explain. I have never once received a coherent answer to this query, and I’m hoping yours will be the first.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
The funny thing about "social rights" is, all rights are by definition social. If you’re completely alone, rights mean jack squat.

So the very fact that someone feels the need to put "social" in front of rights indicates they’ve got a "creative" new definition for social; i.e., they really mean collective.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Here you go Lame http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
"Laime: Who the hell is "society," and why does its interest need to be balanced against that of the private individuals who actually make up that society?"
—-
It’s not so hard to understand. Society is a group of individual members. A pride of lions can be seen as a society. Our first society is usually the family.

You will note that both the lions and the family operate under rules perceived to ensure its survial, i.e., the common good.

Voting is one of many ways you claim membership in the society of your city/state/country.
Every time you stop at a red light, you are curtailing your personal liberty for the common good. You might even begin to think that stopping at the traffic light is a small sacrifice to make for the common good of limiting the number of people killed at the crossing.


 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Keith_Indy
===
You caught me: I was being absurd.
I was using one absurdity to point to another absurdity: the panic in the reaction to the concept of the common good.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"Every time you stop at a red light, you are curtailing your personal liberty for the common good."

It’s a bad example for you and not at all inconsistant with libertarianism.

I stop at a red light because doing so is most likely to minimize my chances of harm and because I don’t believe in harming others who have not harmed me. No one seriously argues that libertarianism means recklessness and a lack of personal responsibilty.





 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
American liberalism however- by forcing one party to pay for another party’s lack of responsibility (healthcare, education, housing, ’fair’ wages), institutionalizes personal irresponsibility.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"healthcare, education, housing, ’fair’ wages), institutionalizes personal irresponsibility
===

Yeah, it’s just so irresponsible of people to develp mental diseases and to choose to be born to irresponsible parents and choose to have low IQs.

Wait, that’s not a problem. We can just say they are not part of OUR society. This would mean they are not really part of the US landscape, but a good pair of dark glasses could fix that up.

Or, we could develop a serious, nuanced approach to facing up to the problems among us.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Or, we could develop a serious, nuanced approach to facing up to the problems among us.
Of course, because serious, nuanced approaches work so well.
Yeah, it’s just so irresponsible of people to develp mental diseases and to choose to be born to irresponsible parents and choose to have low IQs.
Wait, that’s not a problem. We can just say they are not part of OUR society. This would mean they are not really part of the US landscape, but a good pair of dark glasses could fix that up.
Right thats exactly what we all want. Now tell me again about how serious and nuanced you are.
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
No one seriously argues that libertarianism means recklessness and a lack of personal responsibilty.
People trying to make strawman arguments against libertarian philosphy do.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
the panic in the reaction to the concept of the common good.
What panic?

Has the commerce clause been used, out of context, to give power to the Federal government that it ought not to have?

Such as the Gun Free zones around schools.

Look at North Korea and China for examples of policies made for the "common good" which freedom loving people should find detestable.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Come on Laime, THINK about this stuff a bit. Quit throwing out strawmen. You could use some seriousness and nuance yourself.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
No one seriously argues that libertarianism means recklessness and a lack of personal responsibilty.
Not true. Collectivists like Laime here and others who know nothing about libertarianism argue that seriously all the time.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Laime -

Wow. Let me make this as explicit and straightforward as I possibly can.

You said:
[sarcasm] No need to worry about what the common good might actually mean in balancing the private vs. society’s interests and liberties. [/sarcasm]
When I asked you to explain why the interests of "society" need to be "balanced" against those of the people who actually make up that society, you responded:
Society is a group of individual members. A pride of lions can be seen as a society. Our first society is usually the family.
Now, listen carefully:
If all the individual members of the family sacrifice something in order to give it to "the family," who gains from this transaction?
The family is not an entity that can appreciate this boon. The family is made up of several individuals who have all sacrificed... for what?

To take it a step further, under your logic, why not sacrifice everything to the family?
Voting is one of many ways you claim membership in the society of your city/state/country.
No, it’s not. That is the last thing on my mind when I’m voting. I vote to hold accountable (as well as I can) those who are supposed to be operating under a contract with me, the Constitution of the United States, and it’s not about being a "member," it’s about having an agreement.

And under your logic, are people who choose not to vote less than full members of their city/state/country, and if so, what are the consequences of not being a member? Are people who aren’t old enough to vote, or even consciously claim membership, not members of "society"?
Every time you stop at a red light, you are curtailing your personal liberty for the common good. You might even begin to think that stopping at the traffic light is a small sacrifice to make for the common good of limiting the number of people killed at the crossing.
It’s my firm belief that the underlying principle of the Constitution is "negative rights" (and I can back this up; see especially Madison and the natural rights theorists of the day, and in particular read their arguments against the need for a Bill of Rights, and then for the Ninth and Tenth Amendments). One of the best metaphors for this came from Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, "My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins."

Our system of law long centered around the principle that the only time you could use force against another person was if that person was harming you or putting you in imminent danger of harm — regardless of intent or motive — and you could only use force insofar as necessary to to stave off said harm.

This is pretty reasonable, no? Someone tries to kill you, you do whatever’s necessary to prevent them from killing you, because you have a right to your life and liberty.
If someone acts recklessly and puts you in danger, same deal. You do not need to determine what their motive or intent are; you protect your life.

We set up rules to serve each of us, creating sets of expectations that only incidentally serve someone’s arbitrary notion of the "common good." Their more direct effect is to protect each individual’s life and liberty. Somebody driving on the wrong side of the freeway is recklessly jacking up the risk and costs for individuals going in the opposite direction, swinging his proverbial fist in the precise direction of everyone else’s nose.

That’s simple accountability, not sacrificing for the common good. That’s saying, "if you violate others’ rights to life, liberty, and property, you waive your own rights to continue doing so" and will be discouraged from doing so in the future. You endanger others in traffic, and those entrusted with backing us up on our rights will impose costs on you as an incentive for you to change your behavior. You keep endangering others, and they’ll take you off the road until we’re confident you can drive without endangering us. If you get malicious about it, they’ll throw you behind bars.

But that’s not "the common good," except incidentally. The people at the crossing are not merely parts of the collective we want to paternally protect for the good of "society"; they’re individuals with rights.

Besides, who decides what "the common good" is? I know more about my life and what I want than anyone else; by what standard does anyone have the right to interfere in my life if I’m not doing anyone any harm? Heck, a country populated with people who were only held accountable for doing harm, and were otherwise left alone, sounds pretty nice to me.

You going to go on believing that anyone who disagrees with you must not have a nuanced and serious approach to problems?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Perhaps the real problem you have with them McQ is that they are seeking to unite Libertarians and Democrats (not incredibly likely IMO, but some would hold their nose and come over just to protect their civil liberties).

The subject had absolutely nothing to do with NeoLibertarians and Democrats.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Every time you stop at a red light, you are curtailing your personal liberty for the common good. You might even begin to think that stopping at the traffic light is a small sacrifice to make for the common good of limiting the number of people killed at the crossing.

The problem arises when you determine that, in order to satisfy the needs of the "common good", a certain category of people may not have to stop at red lights because they are treated "unfairly" in some other aspect of their lives. Ethnic minorities don’t have to stop at red lights. Poor people don’t have to stop at red lights. Disabled people don’t have to stop at red lights. These are the sorts of results that those seeking "social justice" are interested in.

They are not interested in everyone being treated equally under the law — they are not interested in everyone stopping at red lights in order to curtail the number of accidents at intersections. Their goal is to have everyone arrive at work at the same time. They seek a fair result, at the cost of a fair process. Because some people have more red lights on their routes to work, those people may sometimes not have to stop at red lights, because doing so means they arrive at work later than "everyone else".

That is why the quest for "social justice" is inconsistent with the rule of law. It forces us to allow certain categories to be immune from law but only in certain subjective contexts. There’s no way to write a general law applied equally that can insure that everyone arrives at work at the same time. Therefore a third party must be introduced into the process to render judgment, based on undefined criteria, as to whether it’s necessary for a specific individual to stop at a certain red light.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
I was using one absurdity to point to another absurdity: the panic in the reaction to the concept of the common good.
The fallacy here is that no one is denying that "common good" is a ’good’.

What is being argued is how ’common good’ is defined and then implemented.

For instance, libertarians believe the common good is served if government is constituted and empowered to protect the negative rights of individuals. The argument is that if you take care of the individual and his rights the rest will pretty much take care of itself as it pertains to ’society’.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
MCQ:
I agree with you on everything, except this one last sentence.

"The argument is that if you take care of the individual and his rights the rest will pretty much take care of itself as it pertains to ’society’ "

People have argued for centuries about the relationship of the individual to society. I see society more as a huge familty, with some awesome and some unsavory relatives. You appear to see the relationship as limited to just between you and the state.

That would be fine, except I just can’t forget that there are individuals that simply can’t exercise their rights and responsibilities (the mentally ill, etc.), and things, in my experience, just do not work out on their own.
No, I am not advocating for a welfare state, but some mechanism has to be put in place to recognize and deal with these problems.
Besides, there is that saying about the chain and its weakest link.

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
People have argued for centuries about the relationship of the individual to society. I see society more as a huge familty, with some awesome and some unsavory relatives. You appear to see the relationship as limited to just between you and the state.
Uh, no. "Society" is just a name for a collection of individuals.
That would be fine, except I just can’t forget that there are individuals that simply can’t exercise their rights and responsibilities (the mentally ill, etc.), and things, in my experience, just do not work out on their own.
Then you have every right to try to persuade the individuals in your society to help you with your priority (I assume taking care of the mentally ill).

What you have no right to do is violate their right to their property because you think your priority is more important than theirs.

Persuasion: Ok. Coercion: not Ok.

Now that may not be the neat, clean little universe you’d prefer, but it is the one with the most liberty.
No, I am not advocating for a welfare state, but some mechanism has to be put in place to recognize and deal with these problems.
We have one ... it’s called charity.
Besides, there is that saying about the chain and its weakest link.
Then take it upon yourself to ensure those you’re concerned about are looked after. I’m sure you can find many sympathetic people to help your cause. I’d certainly contribute because I too see that as something that a free society should do. And while it may take a lot of work, my guess is you’ll eventually be successful (just like many charities are today).

What I think you’re really saying is you want someone else to put it in place because it concerns you and then force others to fulfill your priority over their priorities, right?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"What I think you’re really saying is you want someone else to put it in place because it concerns you and then force others to fulfill your priority over their priorities, right?"

Exactly. And, I assume, because he doesn’t trust it to happen outside of government coercion.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://

 
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