I Should Have Checked Wiki before Critiquing Libertarianism

This is for those RNL readers who read my post, Critiquing the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

It would appear that I should have read Wiki Before I wrote my critique of the modern Libertarian movement.  If I had, and because Wiki is open source and this no doubt means many “libertarians’ had a hand in writing the page, I could have just stated my assertions and then cited Wiki as support:

Libertarianism (Latin: liber, “free”)[1] is a set of related political philosophies that uphold liberty as the highest political end.[2][3] This includes emphasis on the primacy of individual liberty,[4][5] political freedom, and voluntary association. It is the antonym to authoritarianism.[6] Libertarians advocate a society with minimized government or no government at all.[7][8][9]

In the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Peter Vallentyne defines libertarianism as the moral view that agents initially fully own themselves and have certain moral powers to acquire property rights in external things.[10] Libertarian philosopher Roderick Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives.[11] According to the U.S. Libertarian Party, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.[12][13]

Libertarian schools of thought differ over the degree to which the state should have a role.[7] Anarchist schools advocate complete elimination of the state, while Minarchist schools advocate a state which is limited to protecting its citizens from aggression, theft, breach of contract, and fraud. Some schools accept governmental assistance for the poor.[14] Additionally, some schools are supportive of private property rights in the ownership of unappropriated land and natural resources, while others reject such private ownership and support various forms of left-libertarianism.[15][16][17]

OMG!  If you read my first post, I ask you: is this not everything I accused Libertarians of being?

I accused Libertarians of being borderline Anarchists – CHECK! (it says ANARCHISTS)

I accused them of being Liberals who either want to keep their money or who could think well enough to realize how bad liberal/progressives really look – CHECK!  (left-libertarians?  This is an oxy-moron, but that proves my point)

I accused Libertarians of being to incoherent in their ideology to support a sustainable government, which is why the Articles of Confederation failed – CHECK! (voluntary taxation?  Duh!)

I also accused them of not understanding the connection to morality and rights/liberty.  I’ll give this one a partial check. (They talk about morality, and even reference John Locke, but they studiously avoid invoking the necessary connection between the Creator and the very existence of morality).

Like I said: Libertarians are too far to the Right of the founders to ever present a functional system of government where individual rights and liberty can be preserved.

60 thoughts on “I Should Have Checked Wiki before Critiquing Libertarianism

  1. Wuhl…..YaaHH……Like Wiki is the knowledge Bomb Dude !!

    ( That’s the “New School” version of course ).

      • I had made these statements to our dear Kells possibly Melfamy back during the election cycle when one supported Ron Paul, and the other supported Gary Johnson, and I was debated on it by one, and called vile names by the other.

        Joe is right about this, and has been.

          • Kells,

            I can tailor a quiz or the definition of my results to meet any outcome I desire. I learned just how easy this is to do when I was earning my Sociology degree. We conducted several surveys, and one of them was a push poll where we were supposed to get people to agree with ridiculous things. They did 😉

    • Effeminate your voice so that people can’t figure out your sexual orientation, add the word “like” to that sentence a couple more times, then substitute whatever words the rappers are using these days, and you have yourself a golden ticket to the next big house party, Don.

      • But if I effeminate my voice….effectively becomeing Donnie or “Donalda”…..what kind of house parties would those be exactly….??

        Libertarian for sure….with all the special “extras” huh ?

  2. I’m so glad you’re smart enough to understand – and explain! – that Wikipedia is NOT a valid source 🙂 I spent an absurd amount of time explaining that simple fact to my students when I taught high school English. -Kelly

    • Kelly,

      true, it is not a reliable source. HOWEVER, in this case, it DOES validate the arguments I was making about Libertarians because this Wiki entry is almost certainly made by people who think of themselves as Libertarians.

      I understand there is a BIG difference between Rand Paul’s idea of Libertarian and what this Wiki entry describes, but this is not the point. The point is that most Libertarians haven’t the foggiest idea WHAT they believe, they are just looking for an excuse to justify NOT having to live by any rules or have any personal responsibility. 🙂

      • Precisely – and therein lies the problem. Too many people use “libertarian” as shorthand for “I’m going to engage in whatever hedonistic pursuits I want and you can’t stop me because I have a right to act like a complete idiot at your expense.”

        • Yep, and this Wiki entry pretty much ends any argument on this issue as it proves that Libertarians — themselves — openly admit to everything I have said about their “movement.”

          The fun part is, there will be “Libertarians” who will disagree with that. And those who do will never see that they are then violating the principles of free thinking they claim to support by telling me there is a rigid structure I must recognize — but they don’t have to. So very….LIBERAL of them 🙂

      • Joe: having checked out Wikipedia on several political and economic topics, I found in my small sample that about half appeared to have written by advocates and about half by opponents of the position being “explained”. Many in both camps should have spent more time reading primary sources before they started “splainin'” the topics to others.

    • Well if you’re teacing English you can tell them it’s the difference of a “silly Lil’ Letter.

      Wiki-Blah-Blah is VaPid not VaLid.

  3. When the cat’s away….. You know B., I love how Wikipedia has now become your undisputed source for information. Also, I love how you word things to redefine what is being said. Let’s play a little game, shall we? If the Founders were around today, which party do you believe they would more closely relate to: Democratic, Republican or Libertarian? Now, were you around back then, do you feel that they would be anarchists or citizens who were legitimately upset with their govt.? Please answer honestly.

    • Kells,

      I think you missed what I said about trusting Wiki, or why I used it in this case.

      The founders would identify the Libertarians as too far right, and/or too inconsistent. I believe they would stand exactly where they stood then and wait for others to come to them. You seem to forget, the Revolution was born of the great awakening. Try that religious stuff on your Libertarian friends and see how well it goes over. Then try to tell me they are the same. Finally, people who believe in Marxism can be “legitimately upset with their govt.,” just for different reasons. So, maybe it is not me who needs to work on their “word games?” 🙂

      • Joe: Try reading Charles Murray’s book, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LIBERTARIAN, rather than treating Wikipedia like its a serious source. Murray’s book is 170-pages and you’ll read it in three hours. Murray is the most accomplished social scientist since de Tocqueville, and guess what, they are both libertarians. When you finish Murray’s book, I challenge you to make the unsubstantiated statements you’ve been throwing around. I’ll be happy to send you a copy, since your reading it should seriously upgrade the quality of our discussion. I’ll make you another offer. Name your original sources for your “critique of modern Libertarianism” and I’ll read them and give you feedback. What an offer…and it will open until you affirmatively reject it. Joe, I am trying to save your philosophical soul!

    • No, I do not want to play a game.

      Republican — as the TEA Party sees it.

      Upset with they govt.

      Now what the hell does any of this matter? None of it speaks to the freaking point. You are trying to defend Libertarianism when it is a hodge-podge of contradicting ideas and goals. About the only thing they can claim to have in common is a demand to not be told what to do or held accountable for their actions. they call it liberty, but that is NOT liberty, that is the law of the jungle.

      • You don’t like games? That’s just profoundly sad. Then again, that means I could kick your tail in Chess.

        Republican – as the TEA party sees it? Would this be the same TEA party that backed Rubio? Would this be the same TEA party who featured Rubio as a speaker after writing/promoting a disastrous bill?

        Where do you get this? They are very clear that their principles are based on the Declaration, Constitution and Amendments. You know very well that these principles contain morality as well as protection from govt. legislating morality.

        Example: If the govt. says they must use your home to spy on your neighbours (who they suspect are terrorists) you say, “No, you are breaching my Third Amendment Rights!” To which the govt. replies, “We are at war, and you have a moral obligation to aid us for your safety and every American’s.”

        This is what I believe the Libertarian Party is referring to. I have seen no proof “Democratic” philosophy in their literature.

        • Kells,

          I see you are being a liberal today: first accusing me of doing something (twisting your words), then proceeding to do exactly that to me. I never said I don’t like games. You asked if I wanted to play one, I said no.

          Libertarians can claim anything they want to claim, just like Progressives do. After all, the founding fathers of the Progressive movement claimed the mantle of our founding fathers’ ideology, as well. Now, do you believe Progressives actually believe in and support our founders ideals? I don’t. But they say they do, so who is to argue — based on your criteria, anyway.

          Yes, I am well aware that our founders believed in the necessity of morality to preserving rights and freedom. I do NOT believe Libertarians believe this. Again, they say they do, but then, when you look closer, they reject society’s authority to legislate that morality. So they actually support a free-for-all, and that is ANARCHY!

          Do YOU think our founders would have supported Anarchy?

          As for your example: it doesn’t hold because we are not at war. Again, the govt. can say whatever it wants, but it has not declared war. That said, were we in a declared war and the govt. presented you with reasonable evidence that they were actually spying on a real enemy, then YES! You DO have a duty to help. And this is another area where Libertarians actually break from our founders. Go read what they wrote about a citizens duty to his/her nation and tell me that sounds like something Ron Paul could write. If you think it does, then you will be the one twisting our founders’ words, my dear.

      • Joe: So you are a critic of libertarianism who refuses to read an actual libertarian manifesto produced by the preeminent social scientist of this generation, even when I’m willing to send the book to you and it requires a three to four hour period to complete. Additionally, you identify yourself as a Tea Party Republican, but have yet to direct me to a thinker that reflects your views. OK. While I admire the Tea Party generally, there are so many versions and groups within the broader movement that it is hard to know where you stand until you tell me more. You may be surprised to learn that the key issue that created the Tea Party Movement was excessive, really counter-productive taxation, which is a key libertarian issue, and has been for a long time. Since then the Tea Party has developed its thinking on other issues, but Joe, the Tea Parties make us libertarians look like medieval systematic theologians by comparison.

        Your second question explains to me why our discussions have been frustrating for us both. You expect me to “defend libertarianism”, which I never do. I’m delighted to explain libertarianism to anyone who has an interest in learning about what we really believe. Some people understand what we think and some don’t. Some people think about it a bit and then come back with questions. That’s what I did, because the first time I heard it explained libertarianism sounded too simple and I didn’t follow how freedom and liberty could serve as the basis for a robust political, social and economic philosophy. I read Murray, Hayek, Friedman, Sowell and others and I grew to understand how freedom was the key differentiator between democratic, free enterprise-based societies and the anthills of Collectivism in all its forms. I read THE ROAD TO SERFDOM and made the connection between Collectivism and Totalitarianism, as illustrated by Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union.

        There are no contradictions within libertarian thought. If a legal system seeks to eliminate or reduce individual freedom, libertarians are bound to resist its implementation. On a continuum with Anarchism at one extreme and Totalitarianism at the other, libertarianism falls closer to the Anarchists, but we reject their extreme atomistic individualism and accept the need for laws in any human society. We regard physical coercion by one citizen against another or by the government as unacceptable unless one party has impinged on the freedom of another. We view the right to oneself and to one’s own ideas and decisions as the most basic of all freedoms and so we do break with American Traditionalists (like Bill O’Reilly) and some Conservatives (like Edmond Burke and John Adams) who insist on their right to determine our rights, often in excruciating detail. We are not prescriptive in our approach to morality and our measure of the morality of any action or law is simple and clear. We view libertarian ideas as directly derived from the thinking of America’s Founders, like Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and others and with Europeans in the Classic Anglo-American Liberal tradition such as Alexis de Tocqueville, but we make no exclusive claims to their ideas, some of which can be found in other modern movements, including American Conservatism.

        While we differ with our Conservative and Traditionalist friends, those differences are minor compared to the total rejection that libertarians feel for Liberal/Progressivism and its intended Supreme Leader, Barack Hussein Obama. Those of us who value individual freedom and free enterprise capitalism above all other values understand that Obama is the greatest internal threat to our shared American and libertarian values to emerge thus far in our history as a nation. Having read his personal bible and game plan, Alinsky’s RULES FOR RADICALS, we understand what he is doing, why he is doing it and what he is seeking to achieve and we know he must be permitted to succeed.

        So all of us who value freedom, Conservatives, Tea Parties and libertarians, should understand our relatively small differences and embrace our common enemies, the Liberal/Progressives, the complicit Media and Barack Hussein Obama, the Dear Leader of the Collectivist hordes.

  4. I had hoped to wait until the morning to again blow up Joe’s unbelievably misguided libertarian straw man arguments, but since he appears to be leading others astray, I’ll rip them apart now and sleep soundly for having carried out my mission of intellectual mercy. Joe and I have been exchanging a series of posts over the past week, during which Joe has repeatedly offered a variety of defamatory arguments alleging that we libertarians are apparently guilty of a variety of “sins against the Holy Ghost”, including his observations that most libertarians “lack morals”, are actually “greedy Liberals”, and somehow have no connection to the very thinkers (Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, de Tocqueville, etc.) and documents (The Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights) that we view as the sources of libertarian doctrine and policy. What follows below are the points I provided yesterday in a post to another thread entitled “Critiquing the Modern American Libertarian Movement,” to which my friend Joe made no response, but rather shifted the argument to this post, referenced a Wikipedia post, declared victory and counted coup. Unfortunately, I find my friend Joe’s observations about the libertarian movement, which I have studied and written about for decades, to be grossly distorted still. While I think it unlikely Joe will concede that my explanation of libertarianism’s core principles are outlined below, I will adopt a journalistic approach, rather than phrasing the argument in an academic manner, and pose my questions to Joe first, with the following material serving to support my points and the reader should feel free to read the detailed arguments or to stay tuned for the exchanges to follow. These questions are directed to Joe:

    1. Given your rejection of libertarian thinking regarding economics, government and the relationship between the individual and the state, and your supposed rejection of the Liberal/Progressive and other Collectivist approaches, what do you view as the proper approaches to economics, government and the relationship of the individual and the state?

    2.What thinkers writing within the last 50-years have supported your approach to these issue?

    3. Does the philosophical approach you support have a name or party affiliation and does it participate to any degree in retail politics in America in 2013?

    4. On a philosophical continuum, with Anarchism at one end and Collectivist Totalitarianism at the other, where do your personal beliefs fall?

    5. Have your beliefs on the most effective approach to the economy, government and the relationship of the individual to the state ever been implemented anywhere? Have they succeeded in producing a society characterized by a high degree of individual freedom, a high standard of living and the other subsidiary freedoms outlined in the US Bill of Rights?

    Those are the questions which help me understand why you seem to be relentlessly determined to attack libertarianism with straw man arguments that do not reflect the mainstream of libertarian thought today. So let’s begin with where your most recent arguments appear to have arrived, since you favor yourself a logician. You are now providing the “argument from authority”, which is generally the final step before capitulation in this type of argument. In arriving at this point you have repeatedly attacked my clear, simple statements with another logical tool that I generally avoid, the reduction to the absurd. As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t really argue the libertarian philosophy’s core values based on my opinions, since I’m certainly not the final arbiter of libertarian thought. What you’ve heard from me has been derived from the giants of the libertarian movement: Smith, Hayek, Murray, Friedman, Buckley, Sowell, and others, and from our forebears, the Classic Anglo-American Liberals like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, de Tocqueville, and others who worked in the shadows during the times when the Collectivists captured the philosophical high ground for 150-years. Yesterday you supported your argument by referencing a debate you apparently engaged in with a philosophy professor while you were an undergraduate. I’m sure your professor was a great teacher. I was a university professor, dean and provost for 30-years before discovering how much I enjoyed starting and building business enterprises and I have now descended deep into the pits of mammon, as I primarily create and build wealth for my clients and myself. So we’ve all done a lot of interesting stuff.

    I appreciated your willingness to share your own experience as an undergraduate Philosophy major, although I honesty must question how an undergraduate student, whatever the major field of study, could have debated a PhD Philosopher, who held libertarian views, to the point where the professor conceded his positions were indefensible. As a college freshman my first essay prize was for an essay titled “The Right to Preempt Private Property for the Public Good (Specifically: Progressive Taxation) From the Viewpoint of Jeremy Bentham and the British Utilitarians,” which won what is now the Gordon College Philosophy Prize for 1972. While I was certainly an obnoxious and overconfident debater on all sorts of issues at that stage of my life, I can’t imagine my having the ability to defeat any of my three mentors of that period, Dr. Carlton Gregory, Dr. Rachel Hadley King or Dr. Diogenes Allen, who was by the way a Rhodes Scholar. So you are to be congratulated on your early precociousness in debate. Your second “Argument From Authority” now references Wikipedia’s entry on “Libertarianism” and then draws conclusions that the “article” does not support. More on that in a moment, but the use of “Wikipedia” as a reference in a philosophical argument really does not pass the “smell test” on its face. If you take a few minutes to view the Wikipedia articles on any major philosophical movement or school of thought you will find the treatments extremely uneven and often in dispute. In this case it is also entirely unnecessary to utilize a tertiary source of unknown pedigree to examine a movement that is totally accessible through primary sources, many of which continue to develop our basic, core ideas through weekly popular articles and less frequent scholarly publications and books. One can read Charles Murray’s brilliant but simple manifesto, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LIBERTARIAN in three to four hours and gain a very clear of what we libertarians actually believe. Murray, Thomas Sowell, and multiple other libertarian academics turn out dozens if not hundreds of publications each year, so it is relatively easy to gain an understanding of what we libertarians actually believe and how we think it should be implemented in American society, whether you choose to accept or follow our ideas or not. Having stated my strong preference for primary sources, I find the Wikipedia article titled “Libertarianism” to be not as bad as many others on that site (try following the entry on “Nazism” for a real trip through Alice’s looking glass). What I find to be way off base are the conclusions you attempt to draw from the article.

    At this point I have frankly lost interest in trying to respond to specific issues among your multiple attacks on my various comments, all of which have thus far attempted to dispute points that I had not made. That’s fine and it happens. As Wittgenstein and others have demonstrated, words can be notoriously difficult to use with clarity. I haven’t appreciated your repeated statements that my thoroughly documented statements are somehow “contradictory,” without identifying the supposed contradictions. And intended or not, some of your posts have descended into ad hominem attacks, which really take us nowhere. As a last attempt to summarize the points I have made repeatedly, you’ll find I’ve provided a basic outline below:

    1. There is no libertarian case for disputing the innocent verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder case – this is where we started. My detailed analysis of the circumstances of the Martin – Zimmerman encounter demonstrated that George Zimmerman acted to preserve his own life from Martin’s blows, which had broken his nose and knocked Zimmerman to the ground, after which eye-witness testimony confirmed that Martin was pounding Zimmerman’s head onto the concrete sidewalk. Under libertarian doctrine, every human being has the freedom to make his or her own life decisions and violence in the form of physical coercion is not permitted by either the government or other humans. Thus Martin’s attempt to injure Zimmerman created a situation where Zimmerman had a clear right to protect his own life. I have yet to read or hear a libertarian case for disputing the verdict that George Zimmerman was “Not Guilty” of either 2nd degree murder or manslaughter.

    2. Libertarianism is an economic and political philosophy that embraces individual freedom and liberty as the standard against which all actions, laws and policies must be measured to confirm or reject their validity. For libertarians, laws or policies which reduce or impinge upon individual freedom and liberty must be categorically rejected, since there is no higher value than the freedom and liberty of individual human beings. Since all societies find it necessary to create and enforce laws and rules to govern the relationships between individuals and between individuals and the government, for libertarians the question of how proposed laws should be vetted prior to implementation turns completely on whether the law will diminish individual freedom.

    3. Libertarians embrace the values espoused by the Classic Anglo-American Liberals of the 18th century, and view the philosophy and doctrines delineated in the founding documents that created the United States of America, including the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as completely consistent with both Classic Anglo-American Liberalism of the 18th century and the libertarian movement of the 20th and 21st centuries. Libertarians also accept the writings and thinking of 18th century Liberals such as Smith, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and de Tocqueville as our foundational documents.

    4. During the mid-19th century through the mid-20th, various forms of Collectivism emerged in North America, Europe and Asia and gained broad acceptance among the academic, government and intellectual classes of those societies. Collectivism took various forms, including Socialism in Britain and France, Fascism in Spain and Italy, Nazism in Germany, Communism in Russia and China and Progressivism in the US. Classic Anglo-American Liberalism ceased to be a strong political or intellectual movement in America, although it never completely disappeared. After Progressivism experienced wide-spread rejection as a result of policies like Prohibition, progressive taxation and others, Progressivism re-branded itself as “Liberalism” in the 1920′s, attempting to connect the policies of the Progressive movement with America’s Founders, who were still known as “Liberals” in many circles and whose ideals had constituted Classic Anglo-American Liberalism.

    5. After Liberal/Progressive policies exacerbated the impact of the Great Depression of the 1930′s and delayed several budding recoveries, the US economy finally recovered due to the industrial revitalization required to support America’s entry into WW II. After the war in late forties and early fifties, Classic Anglo-American Liberalism experienced a recovery as an intellectual movement, partially in response to Liberal/Progressivism’s weak response to growing international Communism, based initially in the Soviet Union. Austrian School economists like von Mises and Hayek joined with University of Chicago economists like Friedman to challenge the failing economic policies of both Marxism and Liberal/Progressivism. Social thinkers like Buckley, Sowell, and Murray began studying and reporting the disastrous impacts of Collectivists’ economic and social policies to an often unbelieving American public. With the old “Liberal” brand having been pilfered by the Progressives, the growing band of brilliant new “Classic Liberal” thinkers adopted the name “libertarian” to stress their strong ties to the 18th century Liberals.

    6. Libertarians reject the concept of “ideology” or the common Liberal/Progressive that “reality” really consists only as the individually perceived versions which exists within the mind of the perceiver or subject. Lib/Progs seek to construct a collective, ideologically driven understanding of events and other information and often seek to marginalize truths that conflict with the vision they are utilizing to distort the emergence of real “factual information”. Alinsky’s revolutionary primer, RULES FOR RADICALS, that shapes much of Barack Obama’s approach to governance, details how the media and the masses of society can be fooled into accepting as facts information that is demonstrably untrue. More on these techniques in a later post, but the work of libertarian economists and social scientists like Thomas Sowell and Charles Murray have been viciously and falsely attacked precisely because these two giants of today’s libertarian thought are scrupulous in there documentation of the universal failure of Liberal/Progressive economics and social policies. As such, Lib/Prog strategists in the academic and political worlds have sought to portray Sowell (who is African American) and Murray as racist ideologues, when the reality is the exact opposite of those attacks. My favorite image of Lib/Prog thinking and ideology can be found in Dante’s INFERNO, in which Lucifer finds himself suspending upside down in Hell, with everything good appearing evil and the converse. Such is the fate of the Liberal/Progressives, whose vision of society and freedom is completely distorted by a worldview whose premises were proven false long ago.

    7. Libertarians are the philosophical opponents of the Liberal/Progressive movement and of Collectivism and totalitarianism in all their forms. We reject all efforts to restrict the individual freedoms that are protected in America’s founding documents. And we seek always to find the least restrictive approaches to laws and regulations proposed to solve our society’s problems. We reject “Anarchism”, which is incorrectly identified in your Wikipedia post as somehow associated with libertarianism. We do believe, however, that smaller government is to be preferred over larger government and that great care must always be taken to restrict the inevitable attempts by any central government to gather power and resources at the expense of individual citizens and local authorities.

    Joe, while you rightly insist that America’s Founders are rightly viewed as “Classic Anglo-American Liberals,” I think you are mistaken in insisting there are not strong philosophical links between today’s libertarians and the 18th century Liberals. Libertarians like myself acknowledge our debt to Franklin, Jefferson and the rest, and a review of the writings of the leading lights of today’s libertarianism, including Friedman, Hayek, von Mises, Sowell, Murray, and the rest, reveals a very clear continuity of ideas and principles with the 18th century Classic Anglo-American Liberals. No actively practiced political philosophy can remain the exactly the same over 200+ years, but the libertarian movement of today is the only active and vibrant school of thought active today that has clear intellectual ties to the Classic Anglo-American Liberal School. As a thought exercise to prove my point here, can you name one major thinker or writer today who identifies him or herself as a “Classic Anglo-American Liberal”? I’ve thought about the question and I can’t identify one such thinker.

    These are the primary, core elements of libertarianism in America today. I encourage you to confirm my claims by reading the primary sources of today’s libertarian movement, rather than trying to play intellectual “gotcha” by citing secondary and fringe elements within or without our libertarian movement. And let’s drop Wikipedia as a source for serious debate. I look forward to your response.

    • “3. Does the philosophical approach you support have a name or party affiliation and does it participate to any degree in retail politics in America in 2013?”

      Citizenship does require participation. The form of participation may vary, and in Joe’s case, I assume he does not vote. There always exists a lesser of two evils, and in the case of a “retail” libertarian movement, my hope is that it will become the least of three evils. We have to start somewhere.

    • “No actively practiced political philosophy can remain exactly the same over 200+ years, but the libertarian movement of today is the only active and vibrant school of thought active today that has clear intellectual ties to the Classic Anglo-American Liberal School.”

      Good point.

  5. Joe: I admire your ability to create a sense of mystery, and your unwillingness to recognize that you have been, to use a Philadelphia street-phrase from my misspent youth, schooled. I really enjoy our exchanges, while I also understand you are intellectually unable to concede even the smallest points, be they factual or logical. Fine, I can work with that. In order to continue and make this more interesting, please stop your victory dance briefly and try answering the five questions I posed at the beginning of my most recent post. I don’t have any evidence regarding the positions you are attempting to pose as an alternative to my libertarian philosophy and I’m at a loss in terms of what your goal is other than stating loudly that libertarianism is a nasty, icky thing. Let’s try to get this headed somewhere today, as I actually have some time to stretch-out a bit. Cheers.

    • CDE,

      And I admire your ability to ignore objective reality and the rules of basic logic. When they are “allowed” into this discussion, they show that you have failed to make your case — as has already been recognized by several commentators who actually quoted you in supporting my assertions.

      All you’re doing now is counting yourself among those intellectual RNL heavyweights such as SBJ, Melfamy and Comerade Karl. 🙂

    • Chuck,

      The only mystery here is why you would equate your Quantity of Verbiage with actual insight. What something like….how do you put it….”retail Politics” ( Ur point # 3 ) has to do with anything substantive Joe is mentioning, is quite funny.

      Libertarianism as “practiced on the Street” ( see I can do it too )…… has virtually nothing to do with the authors you mentioned. For the very simple fact that as with all Sectors of society today……….very few read. The new adherents ( perhaps Groupies is a more accurate term ) to Libertarianism are drawn to it out of its Percieved *Libertine*…interpretation of Liberty. In other words, A freedom to do as one wishes as long as it doesn’t impinged “immediately” on those around them…………….. The issues of concern foremost in today’s Libertarian political dialogue being of course *Gay “marriage”* and the “freedom” …..to use * What Drugs they choose*.

      That authors like Friedman, Murray et al AGREE with the Founders writings and some of their intentions in no way associates them as Classical Liberals any more than Teddy Roosevelt , who also heaped praise upon the Founders and sought legitimacy from them while promoting an illegitimate agenda ( Constitutionally speaking).

      Where Libertarianism is for smaller Gov’t it has an intersection with values espoused by modern Conservative Groups, as well as with the Founders. But that is a very small intersection. Unfortunately the Libertarian “movement” today is much more aligned with Liberals in trying to De-stabilize and destroy Conservative Groups……especially as an effective Political force against the Liberal Left.

      True Legitimacy for Libertarians would come as Public and Vocal Outrage at the recent SC decision concerning Prop 8 in Calif. ( legitimate by Legislative State action) and the IRS / NSA scandals which BOTH involve huge impingements of Personal freedoms.

      But ….. there is / was silence.

        • Joe: At this point it has become clear that it is probably a waste of both our time to try to engage in meaningful discussion. Read the posts in which I have destroyed every argument you have used in your attacks…that’s what being “schooled” means.

          I appreciated Don’s comments and he was correct that my posts in these threads have been longer than ideal. I held out hope that you would advance an argument that at some point would make sense. I’m still waiting. I gave you an opening to state your own positions on my key points, so that I could see what you are trying to use to replace the libertarian policies that you want so badly to attack. You have yet to state anything about what you believe. Is there a reason for your silence? Do you have any political, economic or social principles that you are willing to subject to critical review? I have yet to see any thus far.

          I enjoyed Don’s comments because they had substance, even though I differed with some of his arguments. I’d like to hear yours and I will treat them seriously. I’m a patient, thick-skinned person who has endured decades of attacks by people who knew little about what they were trying to say. I think we could have a serious and enjoyable debate on any number of issues, but you’ll need to hold up your end for that to happen. Spiking the football when you’ve been sacked in your own end-zone is not exactly the best way to produce an interesting dialogue. So that will be your call.

          See you around campus.

          • I’ll take a quiz for you, Charles. Unlike B., I have no fear…..well, unless it’s a spider……but I don’t kill them! I employ the handy-dandy Kells’ Spider Removal Method. You place a cup over the spider then you slip a book cover underneath him, and then you take him outside to be free to kill more bugs!

            By the by, I think you would enjoy the article I posted, if you haven’t read it already. I’m surprised B. hasn’t popped in to try and pooh-pooh it yet….no matter…..I shall play with myself upon my return. That could be fun! I just had an idea! If you would like, I can answer B.’s quiz for him (I’ve got him down to a tee!) Let me rephrase that…I’VE got HIM down to a TEE!!

            nice avatar…..wish you could read Charles tonight…..this shall be interesting….

            • Kells: Which post are you talking about? Can you send me the name and I’ll look at it tonight. I’ve been crazy busy, which is a very good thing, but it has made it hard for me to keep up with THE ECONOMIST, the WSJ, Barron’s, and my other usual sources of information on what’s going on in the world. Two of my sons have been starting new businesses and I always support any of my kids when they take something like that on. Its exciting, but I have to provide a lot of coaching even while my own business is taking off. Too much good stuff can still be a bit much. Still, I really enjoy keeping up with as many RNL threads as I can. O what a dilemma!!! Talk to you later.

      • Don…Thanks for your thoughts, although you may be coming in a bit late to a discussion which I did not initiate, but during which my friend Joe has made repeated unsubstantiated statements concerning the core values of libertarianism. This has included attempting to twist my comments into things which I did not say. He also continues to avoid responding to substantive questions I have raised, and prefers to revel in his own brilliance, which so far has prevented Mr. Joe from making any accurate, substantive argument based on facts. My last post reflected my frustration with trying to discuss a serious topic with someone who refuses to engage in a meaningful way, and my post came with an accurate warning that the reader could reasonably choose to read the first part of the post, including my questions, and skip the remainder as it did become quite detailed on some topics. So you were warned, even if you chose not to take me at my word. I will admit, however, that I am not generally a fan of bumper sticker philosophies and do prefer to examine arguments thoroughly, particularly when issues or topics I care about are involved.

        As for the idea that “street libertarianism” should somehow be the standard utilized to evaluate the libertarian school of thought and the related philosophical movement, I don’t think that suggestion stands up to even a low level of scrutiny. Do we judge the efficacy of Roman Catholic theology by talking to nominal Catholics who attend Mass on Christmas and Easter or do we read Augustine and Aquinas? Should the Reformed movement within Protestantism be measured based on the actions taken by Protestant armies during Europe’s religious wars or by reading Calvin, Zwingli, Barth and Bonhoeffer? Do we evaluate Jewish thought by talking to “High Holy Day” Jews or do we study Hillel? I think that any important movement must reasonably be evaluated by reading and studying the thinkers who emerge and give coherent, clear form to the core values of whatever the movement, philosophical or religious, stands for. To evaluate modern libertarianism, one should not source one’s material on Wikipedia, but rather read Hayek, Friedman, Murray, Sowell and the other thinkers who continue to apply the principles of America’s Founders to contemporary issues.

        My questions to Joe, which were five simple questions which remain unanswered, were posed because thus far in our discussion Joe has refused to reveal his own positions on the relationship of individuals with government, the appropriate form that our American government should take, the most effective economic model or anything else under discussion. It is easy to be a critic if one is not required to pose solutions to replace the ideas one is attacking. I’d love to know what Joe thinks for once.

        I’ll make it simple for myself. I am a libertarian and I believe individual freedom and liberty are the most important issues in any society that seeks to be free, to provide a strong and growing economy for its citizens and to be strong enough to defend its interests in a world that is threatened by our freedoms. I have read the major thinkers of the major schools of political and religion movements in the world and I have found the libertarian economists and social and political scientists to be the only vibrant, intellectually sound and philosophically consistent thinkers working and writing today. Please inform me what other political movement has thinkers on a par with Friedrich Hayek, Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, and Richard Epstein? While I respect the American Conservative movement, who are the Conservative thought leaders that compare with today’s libertarian thinkers? And Conservatism is in many ways a sound movement, but very little is happening in advancing Conservative thought that I’ve seen.

        Regarding libertarianism’s organic connection to Classic Anglo-American Liberalism, if you can read Murray and Friedman and Sowell and Hayek and then read Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and de Tocqueville and not see the consistent manner in which key issues are dealt with, then we will have to agree to disagree and I will be mystified. But of course, you have every right to not see what I see. I’d love to hear what you regard as the breaks between the two groups.

        Finally, you are quite correct that libertarians need to be actively engaged in resisting the continuing attempts by Liberal/Progressives led by Obama to reduce and curtail the freedoms and rights that are our birthright as Americans. My ways of addressing this responsibility has been as a frequent contributor to a variety of on-line forums, blogs and other venues and by participating in various political and media events, where I am often seriously outnumbered. But I take seriously the need to constantly attack the unconstitutional and illegal actions of Obama and the Lib/Progs. And libertarians like myself have no common ground with Lib/Progs and never will. I usually find myself opposed by Liberal/Progressives and general idiots on the WSJ and other sites. My new experiences on RNL have been the first times where I find myself attacked by people who I know I share common beliefs with at the 98% level. I don’t understand it since my view has always been that my enemy’s enemy is my friend and I have never been one who demands purity of thought or belief in my allies, but it is interesting to experience.

        So again, thanks for your thoughts. You are quite correct that it would be better if I could bring myself to write shorter posts, but at my age I’m not sure that is likely to happen any time soon. Warm regards.

          • THIS is the point: “Libertarians” don’t tell others how to think — until they DO!

            LOL, thanks, you two. Together, the two of you have provided the observant reader who understands logic with an excellent illustration of what I have been trying to explain. It’s all the better that both of you are claiming the mantle of libertarian (though Steve sometimes tries to denounce and claim it simultaneously) 🙂

            • Joe, You know better. I have never been affiliated with a political party. If you can produce anything I have posted here, or anywhere else where I have claimed otherwise, I will be happy to eat a little crow and be more careful in the future.

          • Steve: There are many sources of interesting, high caliber commentary available on line and off today. I’ll mention a few personal favorites, while qualifying the list as purely my own preferences. I often qualify my libertarianism as a “pragmatic libertarianism”‘ by which I mean that I break with many Libertarian purists on a number of issues. First, I’ve spent too much time benefiting and participating in the global economy to hold isolationist economic or political views. I believe firmly that our American system at its original core embraced many positions that today are distinctively libertarian and that our system is so radically superior to the various forms of Collectivism I’ve seen around the world that we need to be prepared to defend our American freedoms from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Had Soviet Communism succeeded it would have required the destruction of our system of Constitutionally protected freedoms, because the quality of our lives is so superior to anything produced under Collectivism that we would have remained President Reagan’s (and John Winthrop’s) “Shining City on a Hill”, and provided the lie to the “People’s Paradise”. Today I view the most serious threat to our American freedoms to flow from the Obama Administration, which is following a course described by Saul Alinsky’s primer for the destruction of democracy.

            Having provided way too long an introduction, I enjoy the following:

            1. WSJ Online: In addition to being one of the few sources of actual news in America today, the WSJ-Online hosts a vibrant community of blogs that follow various articles and opinion pieces in the WSJ. I also find many of the Journal’s Editorial Board to be heavily libertarian in their thinking, especially Steve Moore, who is an old colleague of Arthur Laffer.
            2. Cato Foundation: If you haven’t found Cato, you’re in for a treat. Cato is an explicitly libertarian group, with lots of opportunities to join discussions online. They also run great conferences and round table meetings, which I am occasionally able to attend and they are great.
            3. Hoover Institution at Stanford University: I view Hoover as the most philosophically powerful entity in the world. If you read Hoover’s Vision Statement you’ll find it strongly libertarian in its core values of limited government and other issues. HI has an active blog life, which includes Thomas Sowell, John Taylor and other powerful thinkers. Hoover deals with a broad range of issues, some of which many libertarians tend to not pay attention to, but I do and I thoroughly enjoy Hoover’s intellectual chops. Great stuff.
            4. Manhattan Institute: Another great group with an active blog dimension. MI has been particularly strong in areas like the abuse and overreach within the American legal system, which violates our basic libertarian issue of simplifying the legal system, especially the tort and environmental protection industries.
            5. Hillsdale College: One of my business partners was a football player at Hillsdale, and he and I have just begun to really find a lot of what Hillsdale does, which is unique in American Higher Education. During my 25-years as a college professor, dean and provost I was almost always in the minority in terms of my political philosophy. Hoover is the unquestioned center of American political and economic thought, but Hillsdale is incredibly effective I educating we infantry in the great struggle currently taking place in America.

            As I said at the beginning, these are only some of my favorites and there are a lot of others with interesting threads on a regular basis. I find new sites all the time. Hope this helps. Regards, CDE

            • Thanks for taking the time to respond Charles.

              I am familiar with 1 & 2 on your list, and will have to give them a little more scrutiny. The things I see, in passing, coming from either usually have an anti-Democratic slant. I am convinced the Republicans are in many ways more evil than the Democrats, and get turned off when a piece attempts to make a point by framing it within the two-party system. 3 & 5 are less familiar and 4 is new to me. I will check them out, and I have made a note about the Charles Murray book.

              Thanks again.

              • My pleasure, Steve. You’ll find the sites that are most interesting for you and the Internet is a candy store for new idea junkies. BTW, the Murray book I’ve been touting has a great list of “For Further Reading” suggestions at the back. Its also cool to read Murray when he’s not plying his regular trade as a social science researcher. He scares the Lib/Progs terribly, because his research is elegant, well-documented in the extreme and terribly damning for Collectivists. As a result there has been a serious, coordinated effort to marginalize Murray and the economist Thomas Sowell for years. BTW, Murray has actually “Friended” me on F/B and we engage in occasional exchanges. I always feel like I’m texting with the Pope. Cheers.

                • I know the feeling. Our fledgling Libertarian gubernatorial candidate actually responded to one of my questions concerning Florida’s Citizens’ Insurance on one of his Facebook threads. The response was refreshing in its forthrightness.

      • “For the very simple fact that as with all Sectors of society today……….very few read.”

        That is perhaps why the masses are so easily swayed by shallow, emotional propaganda. You personal objection to homosexuality precludes a government by which liberty is extended to all its citizens.

        • CDE,

          Steve just affirmed my argument — AGAIN! See how easy it is to make my case? All one has to do is pic the subject of drugs, war, abortion or homosexuality and then sit back and wait. Eventually, these “libertarians” will ti themselves directly back to the Progressive ideal.

          • A perfect example of this is the Libertarian support of the Supreme Court decision to undercut the Legally passed Prop 8 in California. Showing the Libertarian support for Totalitarian Government over the Legislature of California and over States rights. Why ?

            Because of one of their Pet issues….Gay Marriage. This shows them to be aligned PERFECTLY with the Liberal Left when it comes to True Constitutional issues. What they will say in so many ( Many many ) words is that they (Libertarians) are upholding “individual” rights. But what it effectively is another application of the Progressive “we have to break the free market in order to save the Free market ” made famous by the Ubber GOP Progressive….G W Bush.

            Libertarianism is an excercise in intellectual dishonesty. It is a nested set of interlocking rationalizations used to justify and mask personal predilections as Freedoms.

            • So Don, are saying the 10th Amendment actually trumps individual liberty? I don’t think your comments can be interpreted otherwise, but if I am mistaken, please clarify.

            • Don: One of the problems with a “movement” as opposed to a political party is who speaks authoritatively for the movement. Generalizing your displeasure over the positions taken by someone identifying himself or herself as “libertarian” to libertarianism as a movement is actually intellectually dishonest. Having said that, what choice did the Supremes have in rejecting the “standing” of those trying to defend Prop 8 when the State of California refused to even file a brief in defense of its own law, as passed by its own citizens? The groups who tried to defend Prop 8 should actually have brought an action against Governor Moonbeam and his very attractive Attorney General (according to Mr. Obama) to force them to defend Prop 8, which had been passed by a majority of California’s citizens.

              Having said that, I regard the initiative and referendum process as a way to create often bad laws, although I understand the frustration that often drives the process, when citizens view their legislators as unresponsive. And “homosexuality”, “Lesbianism” and “same sex marriage” are all practices where the state should have no role in restricting or regulating the behavior of individual citizens, provided all participants are adults, no one is compelled to participate and no religious groups are required to endorse or recognize practices that violate their doctrines or traditions. Freedom of association and freedom of religion are both protected in our Bill of Rights, which for libertarians is the Gold Standard against which all US Federal and state laws must be vetted. How are those concepts intellectually “dishonest” or “interlocking rationalizations”? If you find homosexuality or same-sex marriage somehow unacceptable, then you have every right to make that case, and you will find about 50% of Americans agreeing with you. But I have yet to hear a compelling, logically argued case against homosexuals and Lesbians having the same rights of free association as we heterosexuals with more traditional families. Please feel free to make that case and I will be delighted to read your argument.

  6. Joe: Other people can’t prove your arguments…you have to do that yourself, and I welcome your doing so. What is clear to me without your making the case is that you believe in a prescriptive approach to public morality, which means translating the moral code of a specific religion or belief system (my ancestors the Puritans would be a good example) and establishing it as a society’s “legal” code by enforcing it with the coercive power of the state. The prescriptive approach was favored by Burke and the Adams family and was also the arrangement favored by my mother’s Irish Roman Catholic ancestors wherever the RC Church had sufficient political power to enforce its own will on all the subjects of a nation whose sovereign accepted RC spiritual rule. There were no secular democratic states within the Roman Catholic orbit until the French Revolution, at which time the Roman Church was violently deposed and replaced with an even greater tyranny.

    We libertarians favor a much simpler, fairer and more rational approach to public morality. We believe a free society can only be brought about by safe-guarding the freedom of all citizens against the coercive power of the central government. The means of vetting proposed laws is simple…does the proposed law diminish or threaten to diminish the freedom of individual citizens. We define “freedom” as the ability of the individual to do and think and speak and work and worship and associate with whomever he or she chooses, without the prescriptive coercive power of the government being permitted to override the individual’s personal choices. We accept two limitations on our freedom, but they really can be contained in one statement: the individual’s freedoms are limited by the degree to which there interfere or impinge on the freedoms of another. Some of us, including myself, accept a second limitation regretfully, because we believe our system of freedoms in America, if they were properly honored and protected, would prove threatening to the Collectivists and tyrants of the world, hence we believe in the active and aggressive defense of our American freedom and liberty against all our enemies, foreign and domestic. In the words of Justice Robert H. Jackson, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact'” and the libertarian tribe to which I ascribe the most respect, and who only I refer to as “Pragmatic Libertarians” believes that freedom must be defended against those who seek to impose either their personal or their national values on otherwise free people.

    With freedom being our ultimate value, we respect the rights of individuals to live their lives as they please, including the right to engage in behavior that is ultimately self-destructive. An individual has the right, under true libertarianism, to engage in any behavior that he or she chooses to engage in, provided that his or her behavior (or thought or words or ideas or religious beliefs) does not cause or threaten the freedom of another. We recognize that such behavioral freedom can only be permitted to those capable of rational, mature decision-making, hence children, the mentally defective and the mentally ill do not enjoy this most basic of all rights.

    The Progressive “ideal” is 180-degrees away from libertarianism. Under Progressivism individual freedom is ultimately transferred to the government and individual actions are dictated by the small group of “experts” and “bureaucrats” who determine what is best for the good of “the people”, a murky group whose interests seem to consistently coincide with the expert class who rule on behalf of the many. America’s early Progressives, like their counterparts in Russia (the Communist Party), in Germany (the National German Socialist Workers Party or Nazis), in Italy and Spain (the Fascist Party), attempted to eliminate individual freedom and replace it with detailed requirements enforced with the coercive power of the Federal Government. Dewey sought to establish “standards” for every facet of life. Margaret Sanger sought to establish standards for who should be born and who aborted, and in the process Sanger sought to eliminate the African American race in America, because it did not in her view meet sufficient cognitive “standards”. The Progressive world is the world of the ant-hill and we libertarians completely and utterly reject it as a demonic view of human society. We always have and we always will be the often bitter enemies of the Collectivists, in all their varieties, and the Totalitarians, wherever they rise to power. Finally, we believe that Collectivist societies will always move inevitably toward Totalitarian governments dominated by a small group of ruthless “true believers” and focused on “the cult of personality”, which seeks to deify a single person as “Supreme Leader”. Whether that Supreme Leader is “Big Brother” or Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Barack Hussein Obama, Collectivism must be resisted by all who understand its threat to a truly free society. As libertarians we recognize this threat as real and active in America today.

    • Charles, I now have my e-copy of “What It Means To Be a Libertarian”, and am looking forward to the read before you spoil the plot. LOL

      I am involved with a couple of “libertarian”-leaning groups on Facebook. As my original post on this thread indicates, there appears to be a lot of differing opinions on various issues, but a fellow made a comment today on which I would be interested in your perspective.

      We were talking about philosophical purity, and the fellow suggested that the purists are becoming outnumbered by more pragmatic libertarians. As you have used that term as well, I would be interested in your thoughts on healthcare. I like to consider myself a pragmatist at heart, and I am being battered by the insurers to the point of exclusion. I have always had health insurance, and am still fortunate enough to be able to pay for it, but at the end of this month, my wife must fly blind until Jan. 2014. It is not a situation I want to be in, and while bashing “Obamacare” still has some miles on it, I don’t see Republicans offering a viable alternative.

      • Steve: Hope you’re enjoying Murray. When you finish his libertarian manifesto I have about 12-other books of his, each more interesting than the last. I have believed for some time that Charles Murray is the most important and accomplished social scientist since Alexis de Tocqueville, which is probably why the Liberal/Progressives have been trying to marginalize the good doctor for decades. No one on the Left approaches Murray’s scholarship, which often causes readers to overlook his skill as a writer. WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A LIBERTARIAN shows off Murray’s ability to make a case with elegance and without his usual use of irrefutable statistical support. Happy reading!

        You posed two questions yesterday and I’m sorry I was not able to get back to you until tonight. Something about keeping the lights on, but I’m happy to address them now. First, Pragmatic Libertarians vs. the Purists. I do sense growing strength among my tribe within the libertarian movement, which involves libertarians who believe the essential values around which libertarianism is built are the concepts of individual liberty and freedom. As it happens, we see those same concepts as the core of what our Founders intended America to be about. Imagine that! With liberty and freedom at the center of our nation and our movement, Pragmatic Libertarians recognize that a nation of 300 MM people is too complex to be governed without clear laws and a government that administers those laws fairly and competently. Like all libertarians we believe that government’s size and authority should always be kept as small and as simple as is adequate to prevent strong or violent citizens from preying on the weak, and to keep government itself from exercising its coercive powers in inappropriate ways. Some of us, particularly those who have the opportunity to travel abroad on business, recognize that our American freedoms must be protected from groups like the UN and from nations whose own Collectivist governments have failed to produce high standards of living or personal freedoms for their subjects. For those governments America stands as a constant rebuke of their failed economic and legal systems, and so their only solution is to try to tear us down to convince their own subjects to accept the pathetic lives they lead. As a pragmatic libertarian I accept the need for a strong national defense, even though that means higher taxes and the need to remain ever vigilant against our foes around the world. Libertarian purists tend to be far more proscriptive in how they view the world. Many favor some form of break-up for the US, so that the smaller units created would be more accountable to the people and the nation would not be tempted to get involved in international affairs. Like most purists ideas of all movements, this notion sounds good, but it will never happen. And that illustrates the key difference between us pragmatic libertarians and our purists colleagues…we favor ideas and approaches that allow libertarianism’s core values to play a larger role in American society and government, because we believe that will make America a better place and we view ourselves as Americans first, and libertarians second. Purists are willing to sacrifice libertarianism’s influence rather than deviate from their proscriptive, “pure” philosophy. My crew is far less concerned about defining who is not a “real libertarian”, since our experience has been that anyone willing to take the nonsense that comes with identifying oneself as libertarian is probably serious about their beliefs and no one is ever perfect at anything, at least not in this reality. Hope that helps.

        Your second question was about health insurance and Obamacare, which I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about lately, since my business clients are trying to figure out how to deal with those issues. While I do not consider myself a health insurance expert, I did know it well enough to teach it in seminars for graduate students and professional people a decade ago, and the basics haven’t changed. The first thing you should be aware of is that Obamacare is only the latest attempt by government to organize an industry they don’t understand without working with the people who do. New York State destroyed its own private insurance industry over ten years ago by imposing requirements that sounded “fair” but which violated the actuarially-based underpinnings of what any line of insurance is all about. The result was a train wreck which saw premiums sky-rocket for families and young, healthy individuals whose morbidity (the likelihood of needing extensive care) should have given them much lower premiums. The young and healthy were being taxed to fund care for the old and those suffering from long-term terminal diseases like AIDS. At the time the New York State law was passed, many private insurers exited the state and the strong rumor was that the legislators and the governor in Albany had been influenced by campaign contributions from individuals and groups who comprised the AIDS and homosexual lobbies, which are both powerful groups in New York. As it turns out, New York may be the only state where premiums may initially be lower if Obamacare is ever implemented, but that is only because Obamacare is designed to hold premiums lower in the early years of implementation than the actuarial tables support and New York’s industry has had ten+ years of government distortion of the health insurance marketplace…New York’s totally screwed up health insurance market is what Obamacare will eventually look like, if Obamacare is ever implemented and if it lasts that long.

        I don’t think Obamacare was designed to be implemented on a long term basis. No thinking person could have designed a system replete with so much needless complexity and which violates every established principles of insurance in general and health insurance in particular. My theory is that Obamacare was designed as a political solution to a problem that does not have to exist and that Obamacare was designed to fail and provide an opening for a single payer system, which Mr. Obama has publicly stated is where he wants healthcare in America to go. Single payer systems, or government healthcare systems, exist around the world and they are uniformly dreadful. The National Health in the UK and Canada Health to our north deliver rationed, low quality care with waits for serious procedures that sometimes take years. Citizens over age 65 are routinely treated as hospice cases, whether or not their conditions are actually terminal. Picture the IRS delivering your healthcare and deciding what you can receive, REGARDLESS OF YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PAY. Remember the grief Governor Palin took over her term “death panels”? They are real, they are already present in the UK, in Canada and in Obamacare.

        The solution to our healthcare and health insurance problems is actual not all that complicated, although getting it done may be difficult. First, return healthcare and health insurance to the private sector and get government on all levels out of the health insurance business. Second, return health insurance to an actuarially sound basis by eliminating government forced distortions in underwriting. Third, establish standard catastrophic care policies as the only premiums that qualify for tax deductibility, with all high end “Cadillac” plans provided by labor unions and executive compensation programs recognized as compensation, since that is what they really are. The premium services mandated under Obamacare are a Liberal/Progressive social engineer’s wet dream. Americans need to be protected against devastating illnesses that can destroy a family economically, but paying for services the same family may or not use involves something called “trading dollars” and is extremely expensive in any form of insurance. Basic services should be paid for directly by Americans, in the manner that was true until wage controls during WW II caused employers and unions to introduce complicated and expensive “everything” plans as a way of paying workers more without violating wage controls. Substantially lower health insurance premiums will provide additional dollars that will be available for families to pay for actual care received. And eliminating excessive government paperwork and regulation of physicians and hospitals will bring the costs of delivering care down steeply. I have not helped you with your immediate situation and I wish I could do so. If you want to give me more personal information I will see what I can do. My personal email is cdejazz@gmail.com . Thanks for the great questions and I looking forward to seeing you around the Line. CDE

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