Libertaria Question

It almost seems like if you treat everything like you would see things at a regular private business it makes more sense. Everything costs money, one way or the other, you can and will be held responsible for your actions and nobody is really required to do anything for anyone without a transaction or contractual obligation.

Since this is in GD now:

Uh-huh. So, the government of Libertaria following Libertarian principles absolutely will not pass or enforce a law forbidding drunk driving. They will, however, set a standard for what constitutes drunk driving and prosecute anyone who owns a road and represents it as safe if they don’t follow Libertaria’s standard for drunk driving. So, Libertaria doesn’t have any laws against drunk driving, it just sets the standard for what is drunk driving and punishes anyone who owns a road and doesn’t follow that standard.

Oh gosh, Libertaria doesn’t pass any laws preventing drunk driving, oh no. But if you own a road and want to set a BAC lower than what Libertaria considers proper, or follow a standard other than the one they set (basing impairment on skills instead of BAC, for example), then you’re comitting a crime if you don’t say that your roads are unsafe. Funny how everytime you tell us details about Libertaria, it becomes a much less free place by the normal definition of ‘free’. Sure, Libertaria doesn’t have a drunk driving law - they just have a ‘enforce a drunk driving policy or either go out of business or get arrested’ law.

So, how does one determine who is a child? How does one determine who is a parent, and make sure your definition says something about sperm donors, surrogate mothers, and conned parents? What is the definition of ‘support’ - are the parents required to meet some government-mandated educational standard, and some level of luxury food and clothes, or can they just keep the kid in a cardboard box and feed them guel? Bear in mind that you’re going to have to justify all of this in light of the non-coercion principle too, especially since that’s what you use to determine what’s tyranny and what’s not.

(I know Lib won’t answer me, since I poke too many holes in his claims, so this is really for the benefit of other people in the thread).

Oops - left off the most important part of the child support question (as well as the bit about adoption, but that one will wait):

If parents are in ‘breach of contract’ by not providing sufficient quantity or quality of food, clothing, or education for their children, what does the government of Libertaria do if the parents lack sufficient money to meet Libertaria’s standards? Unless Libertaria wants to abandon the non-coercion principle and a huge chunk of Libertarian rhetoric by forcing other people to pay for food, clothing, and education for the kid, they don’t really have a remedy. They could imprison the parents, but that just forces the kids onto the street, it doesn’t provide for them, and it’s not like they can fine people who don’t have any money.

This is absolutely true, and why I believe that justification of Libertarian laws should not rest solely on the equivocation of ‘creating a hazardous situation’ and ‘initiation of force’. For example, we might consider the apparent costs to society a factor here: are more people dying without the law than with it? Are people deliberately not driving when they used to because of the number of drunk drivers? Depending on how one defines force and considers its initiation, we can answer this question more clearly without suffering from avalanches on slippery slopes.

What I think is always forbidden is acting against something just because it could be acting as a forcible agent.

And thus we’re thrown into the abyss… :slight_smile:

For those without a scorecard Lib and I often fall into different libertarian camps.

Lib, I think human nature is to form societies and set rules for them. Every group of primitive humans I’ve known has had some sort of societal rules under which they operate. Do you dispute this?

Eris wrote:

I don’t know why you think there’s any equivocation. A threat of force is tantamount to the use of force. If you believe that your neighbor has created a situation that is hazardous to the extent that it is coercive, you may exercise responsive force or take the matter to arbitration. If he has a nuclear bomb, for example, you may reasonably argue that a nuclear bomb in such close proximity renders you and your property unsafe. Robbing people of their safety against their will is coercive.

Riboflavin wrote:

The government doesn’t do that. The owners of the roads set those standards. Just like you set them for your home. If you don’t want drunks there, you forbid them.

That’s been covered again and again and again and again. There are certain rights bearing entities who are incapable of giving meaningful consent. A child is one such. He is born without his consent, and therefore is a nonconsenting party to a unary contract. Parents get first dibs at determining whether their child is a child in that sense. But the child himself may, if he believes that his parents have imposed the status upon him unreasonably, appeal to arbitration to be declared an adult. Conversely, he may appeal to arbitration if he believes that his parents have declared him an adult too soon.

A parent is a consenting party to the unary contract of guardianship over a rights bearing entity who is incapable of giving meaningful consent. A sperm donor is a parent if he has contracted to care for the child; otherwise, he is not. Same for a surrogate mother. I don’t know what a “conned parent” is.

The child is a nonconsenting party to a unary contract. As a rights bearing entity, he is entitled to be free from coercion, including any from his parents. And that is exactly his parents’ responsibility — to ensure that the child enjoys freedom from coercion. Imprisoning a person in a cardboard box is a crime, as is starving a person.

As they can see, you are wrong.

Same thing yours does to a point. It gives the children over to capable caregivers who desire to be guardians. But in Libertaria, the original parents are not relieved from their responsibilities. Property that they have is given over to the guardian who is assuming the terms of the contract and caring for the child. That means house, car, money, whatever.

Since your “debating” style seems to be nothing more than asking questions, I have a question for you: what has your philosophy of children as property of The State done for these children? Or these children? Or these children? Or these children? I can give you many more, but that is a start.

Nametag wrote:

I believe that your post, empty of substantive content, is inappropriate for Great Debates, but a representative for the Chicago Reader disagrees. Therefore, I will respond.

Suppose a company were to market a product that, when used as directed, is known by the company to addict its consumers, damage their health, and eventually kill them. Now, suppose that, as punishment, the company is charged a hefty fine, is allowed to pass the cost of that fine on to the consumers it is poisoning, and is left free to produce more. That is fucking nuts.

Jonathan wrote:

No. And your point?

The above was my post, and not Edlyn’s.

OOooh…cool topic. :cool:

Allow me to explore further:

The problem is that outside of the obvious stuff you’ve listed “safety” is waaaaaaayyy subjective.

Let’s go back to drunk driving; I think you and I would both agree that a private road owner who allows completely falling-down drunk people (let’s say a BAC of 1.5) but advertises it as “safe” would be committing fraud.

But what if he says it’s safe but he allows someone with a BAC of .75? .50? .25? The nanny-types at MADD would say that anyone with any alcohol in their blood…any alcohol whatsoever constitutes an “unsafe” road. There’s clearly a gradient of opinion. Who draws the line for determining what can honestly be advertised as “safe”?

This is an extreme example, but…what about guns? I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. If I advertise the community I’ve built as a “safe” community (because I have I’ve hired the best policeforce available, my roads are well-built and maintained, etc) but I don’t put any restrictions on private firearm ownership, is my community “safe”? I’d say so but I just heard a nutball woman on the radio yesterday who sued a school district because her kid had the word “gun” on a spelling test. Yeah, she’s a nut, but could she successfully sue me if she said that a community that allowed private firearm ownership wasn’t safe? Again, who determines what’s “safe”?

By the way, I just finished a fun book and thought of you when I was reading it. The America Zone by L. Neil Smith. It’s set in a parallel world where a) the word “unanimous” was inserted in the Constitution before the phrase “consent of the governed” and B) the good guys won the Whiskey Rebellion. Thus, they have a Libertarian society. Smith explores a bunch of “How would it work?” questions and it’s a fun story. I think you’d like it a lot.


Thanks, Fenris! Here is a whole collection of essays by Smith, if you like him. I’m not a big fan of fiction novels, but his work is interesting. Regarding your examples, that’s what arbitration is all about. An objective third party settles disputes among people with subjective biases.

I thought that sounded like you, Lib.

And I’ve often though L. Neil Smith was a little ‘over focused’ since he did that interview with Heinlein where he was more interested in getting Heinlein to agree with him rather than actually interview him. But that’s the journalist in me speaking, if you know what I mean.

Lib, I think you’re contradicting yourself.

Above you said:

Yet above you say that you don’t dispute that the nature of humans is to form societies.

Well, societies all form societal norms and enact a method of sanctioning those who deviate from them. That’s what I mean when I tell you that I think the ‘idealist’ Libertaria is an unworkable ideal. By working towards that you’re attempting to work against the grain of human nature. And that’s a recipe for frustration.


Libertarianism is all about people coming together to form whatever government they believe is most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Therefore, libertarianism does not dispute the nature of humans to form societies.

Let me ask you this: if I forced you to join Libertaria, would that make it more palatable to you?

So I take it that libertarians oppose the war on Iraq?

Jjimm wrote:

Most do. From an August 8, 2002 LP press release:[ul][li]Saddam Hussein is a ruthless dictator. “True enough, but there are dozens of ruthless dictators around the globe, starting with Fidel Castro; the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia; the Chinese communists; and various tyrants sprinkled throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” Dasbach said. “Is Bush going to send troops to topple them all?” [/li]
[li]According to Freedom House, an organization that tracks the status of democracy around the world, only 120 of the world’s 192 nations are electoral democracies, Dasbach noted. “So unless Mr. Bush plans to launch strikes on the 72 other captive nations, he owes the American people an explanation as to why they should fear Iraq more than other despotic regimes,” Dasbach said. [/li]
[li]Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. “According to the Pentagon, 12 countries have nuclear weapons programs, 13 have biological weapons, 16 have chemical weapons and 28 have ballistic missiles,” Dasbach said. "So what makes Saddam’s chemical weapons more menacing than, say, Pakistan’s nuclear bomb? [/li]
Saddam supports terrorism. “According to the State Department’s official list of terrorist sponsors, 45 nations have active al Qaeda cells,” Dasbach said. “So even if terrorists are operating inside Iraq, that in itself makes Iraq no more of a threat to the United States than Malaysia, Somalia, or the Philippines.”[/ul]

Of course not, Lib. You know better than that. I live where I live so most people will leave me alone.

But I think the form of radical libertarianism isn’t compatible. People have a strong drive to force conformity. I don’t think you’ll be able to eliminate that.

I’ve never imagined it would be eliminated. I seek only to minimize it.

And there we agree, I’m sure.

But I think your definition of ‘minimizing’ is unrealistic.

And I think your definition of realistic is too minimal.

well, I wont join your libertaria because I think that a lot of the more extreme examples, such as private road ownership and arbitration rather than legislation, while certainly not morally wrong, and even perhaps morally preferable, would turn out to be economically inefficient, and in some cases, disruptive.

Is that another way of saying its “unworkable and unrealistic”? Not at all. Stranger things have been tried: feudalism, for instance. Now that was an inefficient economic system, but it lasts for well over a millenium. I just think the economic, and in some cases social, drawbacks outweigh the moral benefits.

And thus Lib and I arrive at the exact same dividing line we always do.

Feudalism is alive and well with eminent domain and asset forfeiture. There is a reason that politicians favor expedience over ethics.