Sorry to open two Pit threads in one day, but I had no way to anticipate the following screed suddenly appearing in, of all places, General Questions.

Libertarianism is not based on a technology. It is based on an ethical principle — specifically, the principle of noncoercion. Put another way, it is based on the notion that peaceful honest people should be free to pursue their own happiness in their own way. It is a political, not a scientific, philosophy.

Libertarianism is not an economic philosophy. Perhaps you are thinking of anarcho-capitalism. But I am curious about your technology fetish: what exactly does technology have to do with enlightenment? Do you envision people wearing helmets connected to machines that make them capable of choosing enlightenedly?

Um, is there some mechanism in your version of libertarianism that prevents people from consulting experts who live outside their area? And has it dawned on you that there is some irony in citing as your example an event that happened without a libertarian government?

How do they know now? If it’s something that nobody can know, then how will a non-libertarian government know? If it’s something that IS known now, and the company is representing itself as safe, then a libertarian government will prosecute it for coercion.

That’s not correct. I too believe that regulating business practices to protect citizens is a perfectly valid function of government. You should not make such statements in General Questions. In fact, this whole rant was out of place there.

I think your post is a joke. I have never in my life heard a libertarian say that all people start with a level playing field.

And that is an indictment of libertarianism? Do you realize how much like a libertarian you sound in that paragraph? I’ll see your lower middle class and raise you a deep poverty class. I’m talking no indoor plumbing here. I, too, was raised by parents with emphasis on personal character and a desire for education. I am, in fact, self-educated.

You just finished saying that aspirations for education are not tied to poverty. Why now the switcheroo? If people are already ignorant, why burden them with an onerous set of laws and regulations that they cannot possible hope to comprehend? Why not guarantee them freedom from the force and deception of others so that they have a chance to compete fairly and escape their poverty? Why not allow success to be a reward rather than a punishement so that those people can have a fighting chance? Why institutionalize their plight by subsidizing their poverty with dispair?

Only if unfair advantage is given to people who already have political clout, such as you see around you all day everywhere. The street people you know are searching for food in Boston and New York while people who have the political power and the governmental glory are feasting at banquets. They are spending tens of millions of dollars for nothing more than a self-serving show while people all around them starve.

Are you aware that there is an ongoing War on Poverty that has lasted 40 years? Apparently, government is as inept at eradicating poverty as it is at eradicating drug addiction or terrorism. It is hard to conceive a more weeniefied way of dealing with poverty than to turn the problem over to a faceless labyrinthine bureaucracy where the cries of those in need are snuffed out by the sheer size and weight of the system. If you believe you are noble for calling upon a third party to help poor people, you are mistaken.

Gah, what a bunch of crap. Let’s start with your own brutal optimism. The optimism I refer to is two-fold — the idea that government is going about the business of creating a level playing field while you go merrily along your way, and that children are not slipping through cracks as wide as the Chesapeake Bay from slipshod government services. The brutality is the idea that by pawning off this responsibility onto others (government), you assuage your own feeble conscience so you can wash your hands of the whole nasty business.

That is quite simply the stupidest thing among the many stupid things you’ve said.

I don’t think libertarianism is a perfect solution to poverty or education or any of the rest of it. In fact, I don’t think it is a solution at all. There will be plenty of people along shortly to join you in bashing libertarianism, and I don’t have the time to defend against a pile-on. But I think you could take a lesson or two from Dopers who do not necessarily like libertarianism but who at least understand it, and who argue against it honestly, rather than against weak, practically unrecognizable straw men as you have done. And dumping that shit in General Questions was the equivalent of, not just a hit below the belt, but of biting a man in the bare nuts. You, sir or madam, have some pubic hair in your teeth.