Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Wooden Nickels
July 18, 2007 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Presidential candidate Ron Paul (previously) introduced H.R.2755 on June 15, 2007, a bill "To abolish the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks, to repeal the Federal Reserve Act, and for other purposes." None of the major news sources have thus far reported it (CNN, BBC, Reuters, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, AP) which presumably means it's not newsworthy, perhaps because it doesn't have the slightest chance of passing. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean it's a bad idea. But then, that's the problem with many of his positions such as abolishing the IRS, personal income taxes, and ending the War On Drugs. When asked why he wants to be president, he said, "I want to restore the original intent of the constitution, which maximizes individual liberty and restrains the government from doing the things they shouldn't be doing." And as was said on The Colbert Report, he was one of the few who voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. LOL!
posted by sluglicker (225 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is now controlled by its system of credit. We are no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” - Woodrow Wilson, 1919

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws."-- Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

“Banking was conceived in iniquity and born in sin. Bankers own the earth; take it away from them but leave them with the power to create credit, and, with a flick of the pen, they will create enough money to buy it all back again. Take this power away from them and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, and they ought to disappear, for then this world would be a happier and better world to live in. But if you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.” - Lord Stamp, Director of the Bank of England, 1940
posted by sluglicker at 9:03 AM on July 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Cute.
posted by grobstein at 9:04 AM on July 18, 2007


I am very happy that Ron Paul is running. It keeps the anti-social nutjobs from voting Republican this time.
posted by DU at 9:06 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


If he keeps on making sensible statements like this the MSM is going to brand him a crazy outsider.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2007


Can I get this in early: Who is Ron Paul? I'm British and I've seen a zillion stories about him recently. But it's always assumed I know who he is.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2007


If I wanted to read Ron Paul stories, I'd be reading Digg.
posted by smackfu at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


I am very happy that Ron Paul is running. It keeps the anti-social nutjobs from voting Republican this time.

Uh, he's running as a republican, for the republican nomination. Duh.
posted by delmoi at 9:10 AM on July 18, 2007


He's not only concerned the Federal Reserve threatens our democracy, he also concerned about "federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn."
posted by donovan at 9:10 AM on July 18, 2007


If I wanted to read Ron Paul stories, I'd be reading Digg Fark.

Fixed that for you.
posted by Poolio at 9:10 AM on July 18, 2007


Can I get this in early: Who is Ron Paul? I'm British and I've seen a zillion stories about him recently. But it's always assumed I know who he is.

Uh...
posted by delmoi at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2007


What You Didn't Know About Taxes & The 'Crown'
posted by hortense at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can I get this in early: Who is Ron Paul?

Ron Paul is a Libertarian (snicker) politician who starts flamewars on Metafilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:13 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Uh, he's running as a republican, for the republican nomination.

Oh right, I remember that now. That's even better, really. I doubt he's going to garner many independents once his white supremacist background gets more exposure. And doesn't he talk about atheism a bit? Social conservatives eat that stuff up.
posted by DU at 9:13 AM on July 18, 2007


Full disclosure, I'm a Ron Paul supporter. He comes the closest to my own views out of any candidate in recent memory.

I think a huge problem that Ron Paul and his campaign face is the tendency of many, especially liberals, to equate libertarian views with selfishness. Related to this is the concern for security. I browse the archives here a lot. A few days ago I was looking at an old question in AskMe where jessamyn was commenting on why she and others didn't think much of Ayn Rand (who I also dislike) and libertarian policies. What it boiled down to is that a sizable population is dependent on the government and they don't want that support to shift to private charity. For some of the dependents I'm sure there are psychological issues when your care provider goes from the government (it's their duty) to other private citizens (it's their goodwill). I would be resistant too as your sense of dependency would increase.

This bill, like most libertarian policies, has long odds. The Federal Reserve System is difficult to understand and it's tough to get much momentum against it.
posted by BigSky at 9:15 AM on July 18, 2007


If I wanted to read Ron Paul stories, I'd be reading Digg.

Surely you mean reddit, where at least 1 of every 4 stories on the front page has 'Ron Paul' in the title.
posted by cmicali at 9:16 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul is stirring up the waters. How dare the media shove Hillary, Obama, Guilly, and the other media darlings down our throats. They've already made our choices for us.
I think Ron Paul is showing us that we have a choice and we don't need 'Flavor of the month' or 'Oprah' to tell us what to do or think. Hey! The coffee has kicked in.....
I for one welcome our Indie Overlords!
posted by doctorschlock at 9:18 AM on July 18, 2007


I love that clip on the Colbert Report where the anti-war people realize "This guy isn't just for getting rid of the Patriot Act, he's for getting rid of the federal government!" Which is debatable, sure. He's a libertarian, which I admire since they have principles. But I don't get why some on the left would admire this guy. He definitely isn't for universal healthcare.

he was one of the few who voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq war

He's not even the only presidential candidate who voted against PATRIOT and the war. There's always good ol' Denny Kucinich. And why isn't anyone talking about this bill? Oh right:

Sponsor:
Rep. Ronald Paul [R-TX] (no cosponsors)

posted by ALongDecember at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2007


Ron Paul is a member of Congress from Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his nearly 20 years in Congress, not one of his sponsored bills has ever made it into law.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:19 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


...to equate libertarian views with selfishness...your care provider goes from the government (it's their duty) to other private citizens (it's their goodwill).

If it isn't about selfishness, that would imply that you'd be giving to such a charity (and even more than you are paying now, since there'd be fewer donors)....right?

Oh and what about charities, such as the catholic ones in Boston, that would like to refuse service to the "sinful" needy? Who helps poor gays/blacks/Muslims/abortion doctors?
posted by DU at 9:20 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Kind of an amusing moment between Paul and George Stephanopoulos.
posted by EarBucket at 9:20 AM on July 18, 2007


LOL! indeed
posted by dopamine at 9:22 AM on July 18, 2007


I like Ron Paul. He's a little crazy, yes, but it's the fun kind of crazy. He's a refreshing change from the usual kookoo christianist nutjob crazy kind of republican getting all the attention these days. (Which is why, sadly, he'll never get far in this race.)

Oh, and his wikipedia page got vandalized (not by me!!):

Ron Paul is a crappy candidate for President with some pretty excitable (and really annoying) supporters who like to raid internet polls and call talk shows in a feeble attempt to make it look like Paul has some giant grassroots support. In reality, he has about 6 supporters who all have 100 different Yahoo, AOL and Hotmail email accounts each.

I'm thinking a Brownback supporter...?
posted by contessa at 9:22 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


He definitely isn't for universal healthcare.

Heh, yeah. I was mystified by the softballs-only content of the Colbert interview till the end where Paul was like, "Yeah, I guess I'd get rid of UNICEF." I think it was a well-structured interview from a comedic point of view (first agreement then WTF) and a nice contrast to the usual style of humor that drives the Report interviews.
posted by grobstein at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2007


The page hortense linked (What You Didn't Know About Taxes & The 'Crown', on conspiracyarchive.com) is hilarious. A major candidate for an xkcd beatdown.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2007


reddit, fark, digg...you're all correct.

Remember, kids, only you can prevent Ron Paul spam.
posted by MikeKD at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2007


Uh... [provides link to Wikipedia]

You'll be surprised at how much Wikipedia expects you to have background knowledge. For somebody who's not American, the article isn't much help.

The article says he's a Republican politician. The question I wanted answering is what kind of politician, and in particular why the college kids who infest the Internet seem so fascinated with him. That's the kind of info Metafilter is good for.

Anyway, I've just watched the intro video on his website and found out. Seems he's a principled right-wing politician and libertarian. That might just work in a country as huge as America. Hopeless elsewhere.
posted by humblepigeon at 9:23 AM on July 18, 2007


Just a reminder, because either it's news to nearly everyone or America is waaaay worse off than I suspected:

Ron Paul is a longstanding racist and a close friend of the extremist right.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:24 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Surely you mean reddit, where at least 1 of every 4 stories on the front page has 'Ron Paul' in the title.

I didn't see that many ron paul stories, but I did see this:
Why you should never smash a can of wd-40
Which makes a very compelling argument.
posted by delmoi at 9:27 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Libertarian-filter, yet again.

Ok, fine, we get it. You hate government and ignore the fact that anarchy doesn't work.

You think that a man (a real man) should make his own way in the world, shouldering aside the impediments of other, weaker, people, to stand astride his land, his woman by his side, surveying what he has wrought.

The rest of us like living in a civilization, and don't care to dismantle it because you'd rather be a hermit.
posted by bshort at 9:28 AM on July 18, 2007 [18 favorites]


He's pretty much always been a libertarian. He's also a libertarian who caters to social conservatives. Well, again, pretty much like most libertarians. Government is bad when it's keeping us from owning guns or making us pay taxes, but it's good when it's disallowing gays and lesbians from marrying who they love or preventing women from controlling their pregnancies. He mentions in that first article "the dangers to liberty and traditional values". Ron, you can't have it both ways -- liberty and traditional values are usually at odds with each other.
posted by jiawen at 9:29 AM on July 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


humblepigeon,

Ron Paul is a candidate to be the Republican nominee for President. He represents the small government faction of the Republican party, which is also sometimes called Barry Goldwater Republicans. Most of his policies match up with Libertarian positions, the main exception being his strong advocacy to control illegal immigration and to strengthen border security. Many Libertarians feel this violates their principles in that everybody should have the freedom to go where they like without constraint of borders. Social conservatives, the other major faction of the Republican party, are not very sympathetic to his program. In particular they dislike his opposition to the drug war and the Patriot Act. Many social conservatives want a strong executive office that will fight crime at a federal level and that will support legislation and policies that promote security. Generally, these security promoting policies are invasive to privacy, e.g. national I.D. card, phone tapping, internet legislation.

Ron Paul is a strict constitutionalist and wants to limit the power of both the executive office and the federal government to the roles intended in the Constitution. His position on abortion is that while he is against it, he is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, he feels this is a matter to be decided by the states as the Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to rule on the matter. This is not a fringe position, many legal scholars have pointed out that the Supreme Court's reasoning in Roe v. Wade is exceedingly weak. As for his, white supremacist background, this is absolute nonsense. This being Metafilter, someone will come along and post a link if they haven't already. Investigate for yourself. Remember that George Bush the Elder has been photographed with Rev. Sun Myung Moon and has been quoted speaking favorably of the Reverend. He is not a supporter of the Church. And no matter what photographs you see of Ron Paul standing next to whoever at some anti-income tax even he has never supported any white supremacist organization or platform.
posted by BigSky at 9:35 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


"...he feels this is a matter to be decided by the states as the Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to rule on the matter."

That's wrong. He says on his website that
I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.
He is very much in favor of the federal government telling the states what to do.
posted by jiawen at 9:42 AM on July 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


I think a huge problem that Ron Paul and his campaign face is the tendency of many, especially liberals, to equate libertarian views with selfishness.

Because it is selfish, duh.

What it boiled down to is that a sizable population is dependent on the government and they don't want that support to shift to private charity.

You mean like, old people on social security? Yeah, get a job, gramps!

But whatever, many liberals are wealthy and independent, but feel that government should provide for the poor, regardless of how much randroid berchers piss and moan about it.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 AM on July 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


See, t-bills aren't riskless investments!
posted by geoff. at 9:43 AM on July 18, 2007


Bah, Jeffersonian ideals, looks where THOSE didn't get us.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:45 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why is that everytime I think of Ron Paul I think of Norm MacDonald's Bob Dole impersonation - some creepy dude lurking in the shadows talking about himself in the third person. "Ron Paul says get rid of the Fed!" "Ron Paul doesn't like big government!"


Also: if you want to be slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers control money and control credit.

So, how exactly were we supposed to go from feudalism where the magnanimous lord owned all the land and the rest of us slaved away at it without owning anything without banks and credit?
posted by spicynuts at 9:46 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


DU,

I'm not sure what you're point is. Do you expect me to start proclaiming what my involvement with local charity would be once the income tax is repealed? Come on. The point is that large bureaucracies create waste. When the bureaucracies shrink the average citizen will have more resources. What will those resources go to? Some will go to charity, some will go to goods, some will go to the bank. When more goods are bought there is more demand for production and employment goes up, when more goes to the bank there is more money to loan and interest rates go down. The money that goes to charity provides needed services according to the knowledge of the local community, and local knowledge always makes more efficient decisions than centralized power. Funding a large bureaucracy with that money seems like a poor choice to me by comparison.

"Oh and what about charities, such as the catholic ones in Boston, that would like to refuse service to the "sinful" needy? Who helps poor gays/blacks/Muslims/abortion doctors?"

The Catholics in Boston have that right. That's what freedom means, free to choose. Who helps the rest? Whoever chooses to. That doesn't mean no one helps, it means whoever chooses to. As others have pointed out in countries where the government gives out the largest benefits (Europe), charity is the weakest. Charity is much stronger in America because to some extent it is still on us. The incentive is on us to take responsibility for our communities. This is a good thing. I'm skeptical that a charity like Habitat for Humanity could have been started in any socialist country.
posted by BigSky at 9:49 AM on July 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


He's not only concerned the Federal Reserve threatens our democracy, he also concerned about "federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn."

So, basically, he's a libertarian with a footnote that he hates women and hates women having the same freedoms as men?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:50 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


jiawen,

No, I am not wrong on this issue. That legislation proposes to remove the federal interference in the rights of the states. You can read his statement on the matter here.
posted by BigSky at 9:53 AM on July 18, 2007


"free to choose"

But not who you marry, or whether or not you stay pregnant.

Or even, if you're honest, free to spend your money how you want. Serious economists usually acknowledge that government has a positive role in monitoring markets and making sure that everyday citizens, who don't have infinite time, don't have to do all the monitoring themselves.
posted by jiawen at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2007


many liberals are wealthy and independent, but feel that government should provide for the poor

That we must provide for the poor is so self-evident that it must be done through coercion, because people could never be persuaded to do it voluntarily, because it is so self-evident.

Right?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2007


As for his, white supremacist background, this is absolute nonsense. This being Metafilter, someone will come along and post a link if they haven't already. Investigate for yourself.

Well let's see:
Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action.... Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the "criminal justice system," I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal. -- Ron Paul in the Ron Paul Political Report
Yeah totally [NOT RACIST] in the least.

More from that DKos article:
Years later, in an interview printed in the October 2001 issue of Texas Monthly, Paul changed his story about these and other racist comments: "I could never say this in the campaign, but those words weren't really written by me," he said. "It wasn't my language at all." Unfortunately, this explanation doesn't really withstand scrutiny. The Ron Paul Political Report was an eight-page newsletter, not a 200-page magazine; whether he employed other writers or not, it beggars belief that Paul would not have had full control and approval over its contents.
Now why don't you go ahead and find the "links" you think someone would post in order to discredit that? Because frankly, simply asserting that they are 'nonsense' isn't really a credible way to disprove documented evidence.
posted by delmoi at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2007


That we must provide for the poor is so self-evident that it must be done through coercion, because people could never be persuaded to do it voluntarily, because it is so self-evident.

Er no, the opposite. People must be coerced because it is not self evident.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


That legislation tries to make one part of the federal government more powerful than another part of it, therefore allowing for that part of government to have excessive power. It's a bizarre stance for a true libertarian to take -- doing something that, in the end, inflates the power of the federal government -- but when you see that Paul is very much beholden to social conservatives, it all makes sense.
posted by jiawen at 10:00 AM on July 18, 2007


The point is that large bureaucracies create waste. When the bureaucracies shrink the average citizen will have more resources. What will those resources go to?

How much waste, exactly? How will the functions of these large bureaucracies be handled? How will private enterprise, which must generate a profit, accomplish these functions with less waste than the government?

It feels great to walk around complaining about government waste, but what you see as waste is usually seen as vital by someone else.
posted by bshort at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2007


Ron Paul raped Sarah Silverman.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2007


i really like some of the guys ideas, but the racism and the pro-life stuff are deal breakers for me. Im glad he's getting some air time though - its *always* a good idea to re-evaluate the ancient institutions of the state.

It was that critical analysis of the status quo that brought us the separation of church and state - which we can all agree was one of the best ideas since representative government. I wish there were more of these "nut case outsiders" willing to question.
posted by nihlton at 10:06 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why do libertarians hate government? Because large bureaucracies create waste.

Why do libertarians favor deregulation? Because monopolistic large bureaucracies benefit from economies of scale.

You can never dissuade a True Believer.
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on July 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


boiled down to is that a sizable population is dependent on the government

the bottom line is in a modern economy not everyone gets to be the hotshot PHP programmer pulling in $100k/yr+. Somebody's got to clean the toilets, gut the chickens, drive the garbage trucks, teach the third graders, front the shelves at the supermarket, drive the taxis, rotate my tires at Big-O, etc etc at the end of the day, and these relatively unskilled -- fungible -- citizens are going to lack the bargaining power to secure sufficient salary to afford the true necessities of life: quality education for their kids so they don't necessarily inherit the same social status, affordable, convenient transportation around their comunities, and full access to the wonders of modern medicine that keep them productive members of society.

BigSky, earlier you said you leaned geolibertarian. I do too. I think of all utopian solutions geolibertarianism has the greatest chances of actually producting a better socio-economic world to live in. But even so, I think the Euro-socialist model is pretty darn close. People rail at the 60% taxation, but here in the states, in the end, what isn't taken off the top by the government just ends up in inflated land valuations.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:14 AM on July 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Jiawen, how does it make one part of the federal gov't bigger? The bill explicitly states that abortion should be a state decision, not that the federal gov't could decide either way.
posted by Snyder at 10:14 AM on July 18, 2007


The point is that large bureaucracies create waste.

Large bureaucracies also create economies of scale. For instance: Want to get affordable (cheap or free) drugs to people with HIV/AIDS? Try doing that when you're buying for 10 or 20 or 50 people. It's much more economically efficient to buy drugs for uninsured/underinsured PWAs if you're buying for thousands, not tens, of people.
posted by rtha at 10:17 AM on July 18, 2007


I typically don't trust people with two first names.
posted by NationalKato at 10:18 AM on July 18, 2007


delmoi,

I don't need to say anything beyond what's in your post. That's good enough for me. The quote from Texas Monthly does the job, he didn't write that passage and I believe he has apologized for it as well. Whether DailyKos (!) thinks that withstands scrutiny or not is not a matter of concern. Ron Paul is a congressman and a practicing doctor I think it is entirely believable that an 8 page newsletter could have gone out in the mail without his "full control and approval".

But I'll go a step farther. So what? This country is faced with massive issues: deficit, illegal immigration, drug war, suspension of habeas corpus, invasion of citizen's privacy, and a foreign policy prone to going off on adventures (Iran?). I am not one to see that there is much racist in American public policy period (a notable exception being affirmative action) but there is some legislation that is discriminatory to Blacks, namely the mandatory minimums in the Drug War. These sentencing requirements have been terrible for individuals, families and neighborhoods. Without question Blacks and Mexicans have been disproportionately hit. The disparity between sentencing for crack and meth is just the most obvious example. Are there other candidates out there who will address this? Is there a more pressing issue in legislation affecting an ethnic minority? To go back to the quote, look at the first part, the second is beyond repair but given the way he defines 'reasonable' is he really wrong? Maybe he is off by a little and there are more Blacks who support free markets and the rest of it but these are not the politics of most blacks I have met. I will certainly concede that 'reasonable' is a poor rhetorical choice and there is no need to talk about it in the first place. All in all, it gets nothing more than a 'so what' from me. Considering the scope of problems we face and that there is no one close to taking a similar stand on these issues to focus your eye on these 'quotes' (which were written by someone else), shows poor judgment and a petty mind.
posted by BigSky at 10:19 AM on July 18, 2007


Jiawen, how does it make one part of the federal gov't bigger? The bill explicitly states that abortion should be a state decision, not that the federal gov't could decide either way.

It gives Congress powers that it shouldn't have -- namely, the power to declare some of its legislation off-limits to the courts. It creates a power imbalance in the federal government, and by removing checks and balances, it makes that unbalanced federal government far more able to get what (one part of) it wants.
posted by jiawen at 10:24 AM on July 18, 2007


One more thing about federal funds vs local charities and economies of scale, efficiency, etc.: Federal monies like those used to purchase drugs fo PWA are given to states, which then distribute them to local groups who work with the populations in need. It's not like the feds come into a city and chuck a sack of money at random poor people; those funds are managed by local groups who know exactly what populations they're working with, and what those populations need.
posted by rtha at 10:24 AM on July 18, 2007


Who helps the rest? Whoever chooses to. That doesn't mean no one helps, it means whoever chooses to.

See the problem I have with this is that historically similar situations have ended with a substantial portion not being chosen by anybody, and then rising up and violently taking. I'd rather have a portion of my income taken away and wastefully redistributed by a bloated central bureaucracy than taken from my dead body by a hapless revolutionary. I have no faith at all in any alternative to these two options. Every one I have encountered actively chooses to ignore the disgusting truth of human nature.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:25 AM on July 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


"I typically don't trust people with two first names"
Not even Billy-Paul (SNL joke on BillyJack).
posted by doctorschlock at 10:25 AM on July 18, 2007


Ron Paul is already president of the Internet, with a commanding 0% of support in the real world.
posted by Krrrlson at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


O hi, I'm a Libertarian, and I support the freedom for local governments to restrict individuals' rights.
posted by LordSludge at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can see it now...I'll be on MTV in the first row. There on the stage is Ron Paul. I am chosen for the next question and I reply:

Me: Mr. Paul (snickering girlishly)...do you prefer doggie or
missionary?

Then the lights go out.
posted by doctorschlock at 10:39 AM on July 18, 2007


"Somebody's got to clean the toilets, gut the chickens, drive the garbage trucks, teach the third graders, front the shelves at the supermarket, drive the taxis, rotate my tires at Big-O, etc etc at the end of the day, and these relatively unskilled -- fungible -- citizens are going to lack the bargaining power to secure sufficient salary to afford the true necessities of life: quality education for their kids so they don't necessarily inherit the same social status, affordable, convenient transportation around their comunities, and full access to the wonders of modern medicine that keep them productive members of society."

Heywood Mogroot,

Indeed, someone does have to do this. And to go a bit off topic here, we can't keep bringing illegal immigrants in to do it for us. One ethical guideline I like is to wonder what would happen if a certain action continued and became common place. Would that be a sustainable course of action? It's not the end-all and be-all but it's a useful question. I think it's a good question for policy as well. At some point we have to let the free market work. We can't keep funding social benefits for a class that won't work at market wage while allowing manufacturers to hire foreign workers at a wage that wouldn't attract the needed local labor in order to give the consumer an artificially low price. This simply isn't sustainable. I can't link to it now but Walter Williams published a column some years ago showing that it is a small minority of low wage workers that stay in those jobs their entire lives. Let's not necessarily consider them life long destitutes. If anything freeing up markets gives more opportunity for economic advancement.

I'm not sure I can agree with you about the Euro-socialist model. It can be very difficult to find real estate in some of these countries. I have spent a fair amount of time in Greece and seen what the citizens have to put up with there in terms of regulatory bodies and bureaucracy. The utilities don't come close to matching ours in efficiency and small business owners have a tremendous of paper work to deal with. I also strongly believe that it is good to give people access to tools and to encourage innovation and initiative. There is a reason why many countries have suffered brain drains with their best and brightest coming to America. Socialist countries do provide some important services to the most needy but they also make it too easy on those who want to exist as a permanent underclass (e.g. Gypsies) and there is a lack of incentives for production. There is more of a difference than land valuation
posted by BigSky at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2007


All I know about Ron Paul is that someone keeps leaving spam comments linking to his campaign on my blog. I wish they'd stop.
posted by scruss at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2007


At some point we have to let the free market work

that's religion-ideologically, not factually-based. I say let what works best (in a general utilitarian meaning), work.

Modern society is immensely productive enough to meet everyone's needs and wants.

I respect the Free Market's powers to produce the latter efficiently, but not the former, which is why I'm a left-libertarian and not vanilla libertarian.

And talking about Greece is slightly disengious, since the Euro model extends from NZ through Canada through Finland and at any rate deadbeats lounging on the labors of others exist in any system. cf. the millions of wanna-be rentiers in our present system. I don't propose a transplation of their systems, just an analysis of what is working better for them than for us.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:50 AM on July 18, 2007


I was in the Poconos last week and the mountain townies were draping white bed sheets with RON PAUL INTERNET REVOLUTION spray painted on them from the overpasses which says...not much, really, but it kind of cracked me up.
posted by The Straightener at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


O hi, I'm a Libertarian, and I support the freedom for local governments to restrict individuals' rights.

O hi, I'm a MeFite and I make the assumption that the views of one politician accurately represent all Libertarians.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:56 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"It gives Congress powers that it shouldn't have -- namely, the power to declare some of its legislation off-limits to the courts."

What?

I don't know if this is confusion or a masterpiece of rhetorical misdirection. Let's say HR300 becomes law. The Supreme Court could declare that law unconstitutional. And then by doing so they could continue to claim they have the right to make rulings on abortion at a federal. Where is the power imbalance? What checks and balances have been removed? The issue is precisely the opposite of what you have stated. The Supreme Court made law (which is of course the province of Congress) in Roe v. Wade by finding a 'right' to an abortion. This is what Constitutionalists are referring to when they speak of 'activist judges'. The power imbalance in the federal government is not awaiting passage of HR300, it is already there. When the judiciary makes law they are stepping beyond the role delineated in the Constitution. This bill is a maneuver to repeal and prevent further unconstitutional action on this issue and to give it back to the states.
posted by BigSky at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2007


O hi, I'm a MeFite and I make the assumption that the views of one politician accurately represent all Libertarians.

Show me a big-L Libertarian that's interested in limiting the power of any government but the federal one and I'll show you a small-l libertarian.
posted by aaronetc at 11:03 AM on July 18, 2007


The Supreme Court made law (which is of course the province of Congress)

Wrong. The Congress makes statutory law. The Courts make case law.
posted by aaronetc at 11:04 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


You think that a man (a real man) should make his own way in the world, shouldering aside the impediments of other, weaker, people, to stand astride his land, his woman by his side, surveying what he has wrought.

You forgot about the part where they want to keep all the money they have, even though they got it from mommy and daddy and didn't earn it.
posted by oaf at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2007


This country is faced with massive issues: deficit, illegal immigration, drug war, suspension of habeas corpus, invasion of citizen's privacy, and a foreign policy prone to going off on adventures (Iran?).

This does not, except by the most twisted of logic, indicate that government is the problem.

This bill is a maneuver to repeal and prevent further unconstitutional action on this issue and to give it back to the states.

And without a constitutional amendment, it has absolutely zero effect on the Supreme Court's power.
posted by oaf at 11:20 AM on July 18, 2007


It gives Congress powers that it shouldn't have -- namely, the power to declare some of its legislation off-limits to the courts.

Congress already has that power, Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution:

"In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make."

Even then, I'm not sure how this bill is an example of that, the court could strike it down again, if it so chose, like BigSky says.
posted by Snyder at 11:29 AM on July 18, 2007


This country is faced with massive issues: deficit, illegal immigration, drug war, suspension of habeas corpus, invasion of citizen's privacy, and a foreign policy prone to going off on adventures (Iran?).

This does not, except by the most twisted of logic, indicate that government is the problem.


Um, I'd say that since the gov't is the one that started most of these (illegal immigration being an exception,) that the problem is with the government. I can't see any logical progression where the government is not the prime responsible party, or even the sole one.
posted by Snyder at 11:31 AM on July 18, 2007


aarontec,

Fair enough. You're right.

I think it is clear in my post that the problem most Constitutionalists have with Roe v. Wade is that they see the Supreme Court overstepping their bounds and creating law. It is widely recognized that the Constitution is silent on the matter of abortion and the Court had little justification to make the ruling it did. So the power imbalance in the federal government has already occurred. HR300 would not distort the powers of the three federal branches but would simply return a decision for the states to their authority.

-------

oaf,

"This country is faced with massive issues: deficit, illegal immigration, drug war, suspension of habeas corpus, invasion of citizen's privacy, and a foreign policy prone to going off on adventures (Iran?).

This does not, except by the most twisted of logic, indicate that government is the problem."

No shit. I never said it did. The list of issues was to indicate why focusing on a derogatory quote attributed to Ron Paul is silly. Waving that quote around and using it to push the undecided away from examining his beliefs is race baiting at its worst. There are plenty of books that will show you problems with big government. If you are interested in how Ron Paul compares with other potential candidates I recommend looking at the above list of issues. In my opinion these are the most crucial problems facing the country.
posted by BigSky at 11:34 AM on July 18, 2007


The list of issues was to indicate why focusing on a derogatory quote attributed to Ron Paul is silly. Waving that quote around and using it to push the undecided away from examining his beliefs is race baiting at its worst.

That's the dumbest thing I've ever read, and I've been on Metafilter for quite a while.

Why shouldn't we examine exactly what Ron Paul said in the past when evaluating his arguments today? Why is it suddenly off limits?

If he's a racist bigot, shouldn't we know that? Shouldn't we demand answers of those that we could potentially elect to lead us? Shouldn't we be suspicious of his credibility in other issues if he holds noxious beliefs?

And his answer doesn't hold water at all. So what if a ghostwriter wrote it for him. He was responsible for vetting it in the first place when he decided to publish it and put his name on it.
posted by bshort at 11:53 AM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd rather have a portion of my income taken away and wastefully redistributed by a bloated central bureaucracy than taken from my dead body by a hapless revolutionary.

This is a false dichotomy.

Certainly, a massive centralized power will stifle revolt out of its self-interest. What you're not acknowledging is that massive centralized powers, whatever their guiding star, historically accrete into sovereigns that terrorize their constituents through law enforcement and their neighbors through war.

A state's self-interested redistribution of funds will only help the poor so much as it serves to maintain the appearance of usefulness and stifle revolt. The rest will be sunk into the military and its cousin industries, into building more prisons, into constructing new ways of finding yourself there, into building secret prisons for the very bad, into agencies that monitor your private behavior and correspondence, and into handouts for a constellation of industries allied with the state. Surely I must be talking about Stalin, Mao, or Nazi Germany, no? Actually, I'm talking about our federal budget, made by Democrats and Republicans alike, all of whom I'm sure operate out of higher ideals but have fallen prey to greed and to our propensity to thoughtlessly grant their every desire.

Any government, whatever its stated agendas or values, when overfed and not held to the the strictures of its social contract, will do this. Just like any company with too much capital and marketshare to leverage can drift into the dangerous territory of a monopoly.

You're advocating big government because you're afraid of the revolutionary, highwayman, or anarchist on the prowl. I'm saying that this fear is out of balance, and ignores the reality of the midnight arrest and the swat team. If you look at the Constitution and in particular the Bill of Rights, you'll see that the authors, themselves revolutionaries with the sting of imperialism still fresh in their minds, were more afraid of the latter.
posted by kid ichorous at 11:53 AM on July 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


Libertarians: They don't pay taxes, and they want to live on the moon.
posted by Artw at 12:01 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"If I wanted to read Ron Paul stories, I'd be reading Digg Fark.

Fixed that for you."

Actually, Fark hasn't had too many. Digg and Reddit especially have been an endless flood of Ron Paul articles.

And locally, we've heard even more since he visited Google.
posted by drstein at 12:06 PM on July 18, 2007


HR300 would not distort the powers of the three federal branches but would simply return a decision for the states to their authority.

On the other hand, why would a libertarian (constitutionalist or whatever Ron Paul should be called) want to take a right away from the people and give it to the state? The Roe decision affirms a women's right to make medical decisions in private until the fetus is viable, or seek an abortion if her health or life is at stake in the pregnancy - that is to be the owner of her person and do with it as she sees fit. I think this is another issue where Ron Paul's social conservatism does not square with his libertarian ideals.
posted by peeedro at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2007


I'm sick of hearing about this free market bullshit. Who in their right mind thinks that a truly free market would do anything other than harm? Have a look at China, they get human hair in their soy sauce and antifreeze in the toothpaste/cough syrup. So they execute a guy for it? Whoopee. Government regulation here prevents that shit from happening in the first place. You like your clean water, don't you? How about your dependable electricity (deregulating that was a huge mistake, luckily we still have a good public utility here)? Do you like the fact that drug companies have a harder time selling you snake oil due to the FDA? True, all of these have problems, but removing the fragile controls that are already in place would lead to an even BIGGER disaster. Free market, my ass. It's anarchy you 'libertarian' buggers are after.
posted by IronLizard at 12:30 PM on July 18, 2007 [5 favorites]


Because telling a person what they can and cannot do with their own body is a core libertarian principle.

The abortion thing really rends the big-L dopes down the middle, separating the maximized-liberty naifs from the republican-lite controllocrats.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:30 PM on July 18, 2007


Anyways, on topic, I don't understand what the federal reserve is, exactly, how it works, who is really in charge, and what the effects are. Why is the Federal Reserve a corporation (a private one?) if it's in charge of the nation's money supply? Anyone?
posted by chlorus at 12:39 PM on July 18, 2007


chlorus, wikipedia might be your friend here. IMO, The Federal Reserve system was created in the afterglow of Gilded Age market gyrations and the burgeoning understanding among the movers and shakers that Public Men -- Senators, Bureaucrats, and The Establishment -- maintaining a loose, but firm grip on the wrist of the Invisible Hand was going to be necessary to stabilize, streamline, and control the system.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:50 PM on July 18, 2007


kid ichorous: So some of the money goes to the poor, and other money goes to things that the government does. Certanly I would like the government to stop spending money on the war on drugs, but that's because I disagree with the policy. I don't mind the government spending money to enforce laws that I like.

The military industrial complex is a big cash sink, but I doubt many Americans would be willing to give up the "security" it provides.
posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on July 18, 2007


Chlorus - the wikipedia entry is pretty good. As is Greider's book .

Having a separation between a central bank and the elected government is common - the Euro-area does the same thing. I think the Bank of England is run by ministers appointed by the administration, but their mandate is to match the rate of inflation specified by the Office of National Statistics, which is supposed to be politically independent.

What's strange is that the belief that the Fed is deliberately causing inflation to reduce the national debt is sort of a libertarian trope. I'm surprised to see the libertarian candidate arguing for monetary policy to be *more* coupled with electoral politics. Some insane gibberish about a Gold Standard would be more in keeping...
posted by bonecrusher at 12:57 PM on July 18, 2007


You're advocating big government because you're afraid of the revolutionary, highwayman, or anarchist on the prowl. I'm saying that this fear is out of balance, and ignores the reality of the midnight arrest and the swat team.

I am not simply advocating big government: I am advocating bloated inefficent government. Mao and Stalin were efficent, whence midnight arrests, long marches, Potemkin villages, mass executions and the like. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are not, whence half-assed but ultimately toothless fascism like the Patriot Act and Clinton's futile attempts to get all encryption keys deposited with the FBI. I hate George W. Bush, but I do not fear George W. Bush, because George W. Bush is easy to route around. Not so, with the strong state and local A capitalist liberal democracy with a large centralized bureaucracy provides the best balance of security and liberty available in a realistic contemporary system.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:57 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whoops, posted to soon. Should be "Not so, with the strong state and local 'autonomous' governments advocated by libertarians.'"
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:00 PM on July 18, 2007


bshort,

I never said it was off limits. My point is that it is thrown out there with vastly over exaggerated importance. The issues I listed are real, they require a response. Some people may wish to examine a politician's stance in relation to those issues. Jumping around with some racially insensitive remarks as a way to close off debate about a politician's views is bullshit. All politician's have some skeletons in their closet. These are busy people with a lot going on, it is easy to be associated with something, whether through a stray remark, or a staff written newsletter, or a photo, that can be used to portray them unfavorably. Everyone needs to evaluate the evidence for themselves. Look into it, find out all about it, I approve. But I think it's a complete non-issue and I wouldn't give it any credence in looking at a politician I despise. It's a matter of focus. I don't think Ron Paul's opponents have any substantial evidence that he has some sort of white supremacist agenda. When I see this quote brought up instead of a discussion on Iraq, or the IRS or the Drug War, I think it's pathetic.

His answer doesn't hold up? You're right he was responsible and he published some derogatory remarks under his name. And you're making a mountain out of a molehill.

------

peeedro,

I'm not one to require absolute consistency in belief. If there was some list of propositions that was indisputably correct then the discussion wouldn't have continued for 3,000+ years. Principles are a good guide but there has to be pragmatism as well. So that there is conflict with libertarian ideals doesn't concern me. Libertarians see the abortion issues in two ways, rights of the mother and rights of the fetus. Just as in every other debate about abortion it comes down to when we grant the fetus the status of an individual.

A constitutionalist world view and a libertarian one are not synonymous, although they fit well together. The constitutional issue with Roe v. Wade is simply to make sure that all the branches of government keep to their appropriate roles. That's what HR300 is about. It isn't about giving power to the state but removing power wrongly exercised by the Supreme Court. Our personal beliefs about abortion come into play at the debate on the state level.
posted by BigSky at 1:03 PM on July 18, 2007


Our personal beliefs about abortion come into play at the debate on the state level.

That you think you have any sort of right to vote on it marks you for the hypocrite that you are.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:20 PM on July 18, 2007


Also, I notice that this thread is suddenly not about Libertarian whack-job Ron Paul, but about Libertarianism. Can we discuss one without the other? Can we just say "My values are X and they impact my reading of the issue in y way" without getting into the underlying debates?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:22 PM on July 18, 2007


Jumping around with some racially insensitive remarks as a way to close off debate about a politician's views is bullshit. All politician's have some skeletons in their closet. These are busy people with a lot going on, it is easy to be associated with something, whether through a stray remark, or a staff written newsletter, or a photo, that can be used to portray them unfavorably.

...

And you're making a mountain out of a molehill.


And you're a fool if you think his previous racist comments don't matter. The DailyKos article cited above has an awful lot of damning content, and barring some sort of item by item response to it, I just don't see why I should waste any time at all researching Ron Paul's wondrous ideas.

His comments and statements weren't just quirky or strange. They don't read as off-the-cuff comments by a busy guy. They're racist and offensive, and look like considered comment by an apparently intelligent guy.

You can think it's pathetic, but the rest of us would rather elect a guy who isn't, and wasn't, a bigot.
posted by bshort at 1:25 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


kid ichorous: So some of the money goes to the poor, and other money goes to things that the government does.

Delmoi, did you even read my comment? That's an extremely euphemistic way of putting it. My point is that very little goes to the poor, and that the most expensive "things that government do" - its highest priorities - involve pursuing war, power, and secrecy, as well as handouts to the very industries they should be regulating. And why shouldn't they, since we continue to give them whatever they ask?

Of late, our federal "charity" toward the poor has manifest itself most visibly as building cages and throwing them in. I think individuals and local agencies can do better than that, thanks.

Yes, I'm a libertarian, and no, I'm not talking advocating privatization of the commons or anarcho-capitalism or whatever strawmen Mefi wants to heap on us. I'm talking about basic separation of powers, and states and localities seizing back some goddamn autonomy and responsibility, instead of relying on a central sovereign that thinks amendments against flag burning and gay marriage belong in the constitution. It's massively telling to me that advances in basic rights like gay marriage, and resistance to draconian measures like the Patriot Act and National ID, are happening on state levels now. Yes, Washington was heroic when it swept in and ended slavery and segregation, but yesterday's hero changed after we set him on a throne.
posted by kid ichorous at 1:42 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, voting for a bigot would be almost as bad as voting for a guy who is proud of the fact that he hasn't read a book in thirty-something years.
posted by troybob at 1:43 PM on July 18, 2007


Ahem. With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, and a nod to Everything2:

I am the very model of a modern Libertarian:
I teem with glowing notions for proposals millenarian,
I've nothing but contempt for ideologies collectivist
(My own ideas of social good tend more toward the Objectivist).
You see, I've just discovered, by my intellectual bravery,
That civic obligations are all tantamount to slavery;
And thus that ancient pastime, viz., complaining of taxation,
Assumes the glorious aspect of a war for liberation!

Chorus:
You really must admit it's a delightful revelation:
To bitch about your taxes is to fight for liberation!

I bolster up my claims with lucubrations rather risible
About the Founding Fathers and the market's hand invisible;
In fact, my slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes me the very model of a modern Libertarian!

Chorus:
His very slight acquaintance with the fountainhead Pierian
Makes him the very model of a modern Libertarian!

All "public wealth" is robbery, we never will accede to it;
You have no rights in anything if you can't show your deed to it.
(But don't fear repossession by our Amerind minority:
Those treaties aren't valid---Uncle Sam had no authority!)
We realize whales and wolves and moose find wilderness quite vital,
And we'll give back their habitats---if they can prove their title.
But people like unspoiled lands (we too will say "hooray" for them),
So we have faith that someone else will freely choose to pay for them.

Chorus:
Yes, when the parks are auctioned it will be a lucky day for them---
We're confident that someone else will freely choose to pay for them!

We'll guard the health of nature by self-interest most astute:
Since pollution is destructive, no one ever will pollute.
Thus factories will safeguard our communities riparian---
I am the very model of a modern Libertarian!

Chorus:
Yes, factories will safeguard our communities riparian,
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!

In short, when I can tell why individual consumers
Know best who should approve their drugs and who should treat their tumors;
Why civilized existence in its intricate confusion
Will be simple and straightforward, absent government intrusion;
Why markets cannot err within the system I've described,
Why poor folk won't be bullied and why rich folk won't be bribed,
And why all vast inequities of power and position
Will vanish when I wave my wand and utter "COMPETITION!"---

Chorus:
He's so much more exciting than a common politician,
Inequities will vanish when he hollers "Competition!"

---And why my lofty rhetoric and arguments meticulous
Inspire shouts of laughter and the hearty cry, "Ridiculous!",
And why my social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
I'll be the very model of a modern Libertarian!

Chorus:
His novel social theories all seem so pre-Sumerian---
He is the very model of a modern Libertarian!
posted by Mayor West at 1:51 PM on July 18, 2007 [122 favorites]


I think individuals and local agencies can do better than that, thanks.

The appaling conditions (physical and otherwise) and overcrowding in your average county jail or state penitentary would argue against that.

It's massively telling to me that advances in basic rights like gay marriage, and resistance to draconian measures like the Patriot Act and National ID, are happening on state levels now.

And Anti-Sodomy Laws were local. It took federal action to render them null and void. Isn't that also massively telling?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:51 PM on July 18, 2007


Why do I always feel like I need a shower after reading any thread where libertarians argue their position? And how can you be "libertarian" and a social conservative? It boggles the mind.
posted by maxwelton at 1:52 PM on July 18, 2007


"Our personal beliefs about abortion come into play at the debate on the state level.

That you think you have any sort of right to vote on it marks you for the hypocrite that you are."

Two questions:

1. Why don't I have a right to vote on it?

2. What is hypocritical about believing I have a right to vote on this issue?

-----

bshort,

Thanks for the DailyKos link! I had never read a political hack job before!
posted by BigSky at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2007


You're welcome. If you'd care to actually respond to some of their points I'm sure we'd all love to hear your responses.

But give us a freakin break. Just stop with the nonsense about howwe should talk about those valuable opinions of his, but only the ones where he doesn't look like a nutcase.

That's not how people judge others, and to assume otherwise is naive.
posted by bshort at 2:03 PM on July 18, 2007


This thread needs more cruel mockery of Libertarians. It's a well-known fact that if you put them sufficiently on the defensive, they revert to that pre-adolescent stutter only eliminated after their parents spent thousands of dollars on speech therapy—a particularly humiliating memory for Libertarians, as this eventually led to their parents' divorce.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:06 PM on July 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


BigSky: That's what HR300 is about.

My confusion over this point remains unabated. From my point of view, H.R. 300 is about the Republican Holy Trinity of election issues: outlawing abortion, outlawing gay marriage, and the establishment of a Christianized government.
posted by peeedro at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2007


bshort writes "If he's a racist bigot, shouldn't we know that?"

But he's not. That's the problem. It's a quote he didn't write. I see these things occasionally about Ron Paul. Several years ago someone I know tried to convince me Ron Paul was a big UFO person. Pretty soon we'll be hearing that Ron Paul advocates mugging old ladies. He's such a small fry, yet he provokes such strong reactions that people just make stuff up about him in order not to deal with the issues he presents.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:13 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


But he's not. That's the problem. It's a quote he didn't write.

Then who wrote it?
posted by bshort at 2:14 PM on July 18, 2007


humblepigeon: and in particular why the college kids who infest the Internet seem so fascinated with him.

Don't put all us eggs in one basket. This post was the first I'd heard of him.

I'm reasonably sure that at least as many college kids are fascinated with Barak Obama.
posted by JHarris at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2007


Lentrohamsanin writes "And Anti-Sodomy Laws were local."

So are medical marijuana laws.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


1. Why don't I have a right to vote on it?

For the same reason you don't have a right to vote on slavery.

2. What is hypocritical about believing I have a right to vote on this issue?

A Libertarian wanting to vote on restricting civil liberties? I wouldn't believe it if It wasn't so thoroughly common!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:18 PM on July 18, 2007 [6 favorites]


bshort writes "Then who wrote it?"

I assume someone who works for him, but he's since repudiated it. What's your point? If you really want to find something meaningful here, why not look at his record in Congress and see if you can find anything that supports this supposed racism?
posted by krinklyfig at 2:19 PM on July 18, 2007


And if he didn't write it how did the person working for him get the idea that this was the kind of thing Ron Paul would endorse?

Are campaign workers in the habit of just making stuff up that their candidate has never so much as hinted at?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:21 PM on July 18, 2007


I assume someone who works for him, but he's since repudiated it. What's your point? If you really want to find something meaningful here, why not look at his record in Congress and see if you can find anything that supports this supposed racism?

Ha! That's an incredibly lame excuse. He put his name on it, and if he didn't read it and agree with it at the time, then he's negligent.

And it's not like it's just one event, is it?
posted by bshort at 2:21 PM on July 18, 2007


He's such a small fry, yet he provokes such strong reactions that people just make stuff up about him in order not to deal with the issues he presents.

Racist right-wing extremists don't need shit made up about them.

Or would you care to explain why the Patriot Network held a banquet in his honor?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:22 PM on July 18, 2007


bshort writes "But give us a freakin break. Just stop with the nonsense about howwe should talk about those valuable opinions of his, but only the ones where he doesn't look like a nutcase."

Why don't you argue on his positions and his Congressional record?

Dismissing him as a "nutcase" isn't really bringing the debate forward.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:22 PM on July 18, 2007


Why don't you argue on his positions and his Congressional record?

That would be the Congressional record where he's never once written a bill that's been passed?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:24 PM on July 18, 2007


maxwelton: [H]ow can you be "libertarian" and a social conservative? It boggles the mind.

No... the right-wing "libertarians" want the FEDERAL government to be minimized so that state and local govts are "free" to do whatever they want -- i.e., enact a (de facto religious) majority-rules-fuck-you agenda. That's what qualifies as "freedom" to them -- the freedom to pass whatever laws we like without federal oversight.

You see, it makes all the difference in the world WHICH level of government you want less of.

Left-wing libertarians want guns and pot. Okay, I kid. Sorta. Bottom line, the civil rights of the individual are sacred, and whatever government is necessary to preserve these rights is a necessary evil. So, essentially, lefty libertarians are for less *local* government, with whatever federal is needed for oversight.

Living in Greenville, SC -- home of Bob Jones University -- I'll take less local government over less federal any day. With no federal oversight, I feel sure we'd still have racially segregated schools. Hell, it's *just now* gotten so that you can buy beer on Sunday...
posted by LordSludge at 2:24 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty writes "Racist right-wing extremists don't need shit made up about them."

You know, this is exactly why I left the Democratic Party. What's the point of answering? You've already poisoned the conversation past the point of communicating.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:26 PM on July 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Pope Guilty writes "That would be the Congressional record where he's never once written a bill that's been passed?"

Now, at least you're arguing substance. He's always been known as a principled Representative. His mission is not to pass a bunch of laws, but to act as a reminder that this country is far from the intent as spelled out in our founding documents. He won't compromise on his beliefs. Whether he'd be more effective by compromising is debatable, but if he did, we probably wouldn't be talking about him now.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:29 PM on July 18, 2007


You've already poisoned the conversation past the point of communicating.

It would be much easier to take the guy seriously if he had a response to the massively racist stuff that went out on his campaign material that was stronger than it wasn't me.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know, this is exactly why I left the Democratic Party. What's the point of answering? You've already poisoned the conversation past the point of communicating.

I'm not a Democrat, but hey, keep trying.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:35 PM on July 18, 2007


I am not simply advocating big government: I am advocating bloated inefficient government. [...] I hate George W. Bush, but I do not fear George W. Bush, because George W. Bush is easy to route around.

I can't appreciate this position. You think it's okay for us to splurge on all the wars and drug wars, so long as we appoint total incompetents to the helm? Are you suggesting that people vote for another idiot child, and pay for his sandcastles and war games?

Since you think Bush is so easy to route around: Is the Iraq war easy to route around? Will trillions of dollars of debt be easy for future generations to route around? Is being put in a cell without due process easy to route around?

And Anti-Sodomy Laws were local.
I know, and there's a reason why we have a federal government and a supreme court. But we don't need the largest government in the world and a phonebook of intelligence and defense agencies to override some local sodomy law.
posted by kid ichorous at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2007


His mission is not to pass a bunch of laws, but to act as a reminder that this country is far from the intent as spelled out in our founding documents.

Good for him. My mission isn't to pass a bunch of laws, either. And you know what? That's why I'm not a fucking Representative.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "I'm not a Democrat, but hey, keep trying."

Doesn't really matter. It's also why I'm not a Republican or registered with any party. Partisan nonsense keeps people from thinking rationally.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:37 PM on July 18, 2007 [7 favorites]


He's always been known as a principled an ineffectual Representative.

I totally agree with this statement.
posted by IronLizard at 2:37 PM on July 18, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "Good for him. My mission isn't to pass a bunch of laws, either. And you know what? That's why I'm not a fucking Representative."

Seems like you want to grind your axe more than have a discussion, so I'll leave you to that.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:40 PM on July 18, 2007


Pope Guilty,

Declaring that a ban on abortion is a restriction on civil liberty is a great way to frame the debate if you say it quick. But like I said up thread it's simple enough to see that libertarians could also focus on the individual rights of the fetus.

And thinking that I have a right to vote against it still would not make me hypocritical. You want to make the case that voting to ban it would, except that it wouldn't.

-----

bshort,

I'm not going to get into a debate with you on the Kos article. There is no doubt in my mind that you would like to keep us on the defensive, trying to justify everything the statists see as problematic. I'm not interested, thanks. I'll focus on his political views and why I think they are appropriate prudent choices.
posted by BigSky at 2:41 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'll focus on his political views and why I think they are appropriate prudent choices.

Wouldn't his racism be classified as a political view?

And if you actually want to see this guy elected as opposed to becoming a libertarian martyr you had better get used to defending this point.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:45 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Doesn't really matter. It's also why I'm not a Republican or registered with any party. Partisan nonsense keeps people from thinking rationally.

You brought partisanship into this. I'm a member of no party; my political views see to that. You are the one responsible for bringing partisanship into the discussion with your attempted ad hominem attack, not me.

Seems like you want to grind your axe more than have a discussion, so I'll leave you to that.

Grind my axe? I want to make sure people understand that Ron Paul is a right-wing extremist and a racist, and make sure that any time liars try to cover that up, the point gets repeated and defended. Am I persistent about it? Yes, but I wouldn't have to be if the liars weren't so pernicious and so pervasive.

Declaring that a ban on abortion is a restriction on civil liberty is a great way to frame the debate if you say it quick. But like I said up thread it's simple enough to see that libertarians could also focus on the individual rights of the fetus.

Except that said rights don't exist except as a pretext for misogyny.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:55 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know who else was racist but had good public policy ideas???
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:55 PM on July 18, 2007 [4 favorites]


There is no doubt in my mind that you would like to keep us on the defensive, trying to justify everything the statists see as problematic.

You don't have to be a statist to be against Ron Paul. You just have to be anti-racist and not be a right-wing lunatic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:58 PM on July 18, 2007


You know, you people bashing on Paul for 'being racist' are precisely like the neocons bashing liberals for being 'against the troops'.... anything, anything to avoid actually talking about the issues.
posted by Malor at 2:58 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I never said it was off limits. My point is that it is thrown out there with vastly over exaggerated importance. The issues I listed are real, they require a response. Some people may wish to examine a politician's stance in relation to those issues. Jumping around with some racially insensitive remarks as a way to close off debate about a politician's views is bullshit. -- BigSky

For a lot of people, these sorts of views on race are "serious" issues. A hell of a lot more important then federal reserve policy, for example.

Delmoi, did you even read my comment? That's an extremely euphemistic way of putting it. My point is that very little goes to the poor, and that the most expensive "things that government do" - its highest priorities - involve pursuing war, power, and secrecy, as well as handouts to the very industries they should be regulating. And why shouldn't they, since we continue to give them whatever they ask? -- kid ichorous

This is one of the problems with metafilter. Person B responds to Person A and person C then takes up another with Person B. My origional comment was to someone complaining about people being "dependant" on the government, and I said it was good for the government to be helping poor people. Then you say, well but the government spends money on other things too! And that's true, but each individual spending program can be debated on it's own merits. We might agree on some, like lots of subsides for oil, corporate welfare, etc.

Thanks for the DailyKos link! I had never read a political hack job before! --BigSky

You keep complaining about the article, but you have yet to provide any refutation, or any link or whatever. Other then to say "he didn't say that!" Well, as far as I can tell he only said that about one particular comment, not all of them. And they appeared under his name in his own newsletter. There is a lot of evidence that he said it, and only his word that he didn't say it, and even then it's not even an exhaustive refutation. And he's said he has the moral responsibility for the statements!

I know, and there's a reason why we have a federal government and a supreme court. But we don't need the largest government in the world and a phonebook of intelligence and defense agencies to override some local sodomy law. -- kid ichorous

That's true. I agree with you 100% on this. It's one of the main reasons I'm anti-war. Wars give the government an excuse to be secretive and, er, curious. Putting the U.S. on a more peaceful course would do wonders for the cause of government transparency. And who are we going to fight? Iran? North Korea? The drug war is a huge excuse to violate civil liberties. But I just don't give a damn about taxes and rich people whining about paying them.
posted by delmoi at 2:59 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think the prevalence of racist politicians is a pretty big issue.
posted by bshort at 3:00 PM on July 18, 2007


You know, you people bashing on Paul for 'being racist' are precisely like the neocons bashing liberals for being 'against the troops'

Except for the part where one statement is about a specific individual which has documented evidence behind it while the other is a wild generalisation applied to literally millions of people.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 3:02 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, you people bashing on Paul for 'being racist' are precisely like the neocons bashing liberals for being 'against the troops'.... anything, anything to avoid actually talking about the issues.

If a politician being a racist bastard isn't a dealbreaker for you, then you seriously worry me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:03 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't have anything to say to all of these "ZOMG racist!!11!!" comments so I'll leave this thread. But I do want to point out that this comment:

"Except that said rights don't exist except as a pretext for misogyny."

in reference to the rights of the unborn for life, is one of the uglier, more offensive comments that I have seen on Metafilter. As if all the women who believe that life begins at conception are expressing their misogyny by doing so. How inane.
posted by BigSky at 3:12 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


As if all the women who believe that life begins at conception are expressing their misogyny by doing so.

Hahaha, oh, goodness. Yes, run along, let the adults talk.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:19 PM on July 18, 2007


I dunno. I like that duet he did with Elton John.
posted by Brak at 3:27 PM on July 18, 2007


I prefer his #1 reggaeton hit "Get Busy."
posted by ALongDecember at 3:34 PM on July 18, 2007


Who is Ron Paul? He's no Ron Jeremy.
posted by Joeforking at 3:59 PM on July 18, 2007


And thinking that I have a right to vote against it still would not make me hypocritical.

Yes, it would. You're intruding in others' affairs. It doesn't adversely affect you, so if you're a true libertarian, you don't care about it.
posted by oaf at 4:04 PM on July 18, 2007


I can't appreciate this position. You think it's okay for us to splurge on all the wars and drug wars, so long as we appoint total incompetents to the helm? Are you suggesting that people vote for another idiot child, and pay for his sandcastles and war games?

Not necessarily, but it is better than a Ron Paul being elected and dismantling everything without consideration because of "common sense." The resulting chaos would just pave the way for a successor who would make Bush look like FDR, and probably turn the whole middle east into a glass parking lot. The nation and the world are far better off with one of the slightly better than Bush candidates like Obama, than an idealist like Paul or Gravel or Kucinich.

Since you think Bush is so easy to route around: Is the Iraq war easy to route around? Will trillions of dollars of debt be easy for future generations to route around? Is being put in a cell without due process easy to route around?

Easier than dealing with door to door visits from some over powered local gang of thugs, where in order to escape one has to pass through several different territories controlled by different gangs of thugs, each with their own bizarre codes and mores. That's the end result of devolving more power to state and local governments, not some rebirth of the enlightenment where it "ain't nobody's business if you do."

"And Anti-Sodomy Laws were local."

So are medical marijuana laws.


And we'll only ever get a sensible marijuana policy through the slow actions of a bloated federal government. Devolve it to the states and local governments and it would only ever be legal in 20% or so of the country.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:05 PM on July 18, 2007


I'd rather vote for a Librarian candidate. Run Jessamyn run!
posted by davy at 4:05 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Except that [fetuses'] rights don't exist except as a pretext for misogyny.

That's not true, either.
posted by oaf at 4:07 PM on July 18, 2007


Ron Paul cemented his 'glibertarian' credentials with me by his consideration of the Federal emergency-room medical care requirements as an actual good-enough ('what more do these statists want from us taxpayers???') public health system in a speech on the floor. He's an ass, as is anyone who supports his retrogressive policies.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:14 PM on July 18, 2007


The nation and the world are far better off with one of the slightly better than Bush candidates like Obama, than an idealist like Paul or Gravel or Kucinich.

I don't think Gravel is really that crazy, he's just not smooth The only true "radical" position he holds is that we should encourage homosexuality in the military. That's pretty strange, but it's not a policy that would have any real negative consequences (except maybe increased STD rate). Beyond that, he wants to pull out, and doesn't like wars in general. He's a nice candidate, but I doubt he would be a worse president then Joe Biden. Probably a worse general election candidate, though.

Kucinich is a nutbar. I'm glad Gravel is stealing his thunder.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 PM on July 18, 2007


I support Ron Paul in attempting to abolish the Federal Reserve. It needs to be reworked from the ground up. It is currently the largest open-air shell game known to humankind. William Grieder's excellent book of the topic is good background on the role of the Federal Reserve, which is essentially a self-governing banker's lobby and their system which lends itself money from the public treasury so that it can lend it back to us at a profit through the banking empire. That's probably fine for most things, except for housing and college loans.
posted by Brian B. at 4:28 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hope people don't mind if I interrupt the mud-slinging to make a couple of on-topic remarks regarding sluglicker's original post...

Ron Paul is proposing to abolish the Federal Reserve because he is in favor of re-introducing the gold standard.

Also, some info about the guy's policy ideas in general: He was recently featured in a Candidates&Google video (about an hour of Q&A).

For the record, I'm only commenting on this topic to provide the links above. I don't yet have a view on Ron Paul as a presidential candidate.
posted by gbognar at 4:29 PM on July 18, 2007


That would be William Greider.
posted by Brian B. at 4:30 PM on July 18, 2007


If a politician being a racist bastard isn't a dealbreaker for you, then you seriously worry me.

Seconded.
posted by MythMaker at 4:40 PM on July 18, 2007


What do you want to replace the Fed with, Brian?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:41 PM on July 18, 2007


Except that said rights don't exist except as a pretext for misogyny.

Given that your stated purpose in this conversation is your dedication to truth and opposing bullshit, this is a pretty egregious hypocrisy on your part. I'll grant you that the vast majority of pro-lifers are sexists, and that a large portion of sexists are misogynists. Nevertheless, there are people who sincerely make a case for fetal rights which are extensive enough to preclude abortion who are neither sexist nor misogynist. And even if there weren't, this viewpoint is not necessarily sexist nor misogynist.

I'm not a friend to either pro-lifers or Libertarians, but to claim, as you do, that any suggestion that a fetus has rights is “a pretext for misogyny” is in my opinion just about as much dishonest bullshit as I am reading from the Libertarians in this thread.

Now, if what you actually believe is much closer to the truth (which is that most people who agitate for the rights of fetuses are people who are more interested in returning the US to a pre-feminism era than they are fetuses), then I suggest you consider how useful your use of hyperbole could possibly be in an argument where others are distorting the truth.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:47 PM on July 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


Lentrohamsanin: [Dealing with Bush is] Easier than dealing with door to door visits from some over powered local gang of thugs, where in order to escape one has to pass through several different territories controlled by different gangs of thugs, each with their own bizarre codes and mores. That's the end result of devolving more power to state and local governments, not some rebirth of the enlightenment where it "ain't nobody's business if you do."

What sort of Snowcrash-bound fantasy world are you envisioning? Of course Bush is better than a cartoonish feudal anarchy, but we're not comparing those two things. It's silly to claim that pushing back on an overblown commerce clause, reducing a federal budget that's been overtaken by the military and various Orwellian agencies, and allowing for a greater separation of powers would bring about our reversion into tribal strongmen. Careful, letting the states decide drinking age is going to bring the KKK back to the south!

In this false dichotomy you're presenting, it's like we'll turn into Bedlam if we don't allow ourselves to continue turning into Rome. I'd prefer something a little more like... well, America.

And we'll only ever get a sensible marijuana policy through the slow actions of a bloated federal government. Devolve it to the states and local governments and it would only ever be legal in 20% or so of the country.

It was legal in more than 20% of the states even at the peak of its demonization in the 20s and early 30s. The slow actions of a bloated federal government have made it illegal everywhere and have fossilized it that way.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:51 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


EB, they can make those arguments all they want, but they're still supporting placing nonpersons above women. That's misogynistic whether such individuals wish to consider themselves misogynists or not.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:00 PM on July 18, 2007


Careful, letting the states decide drinking age is going to bring the KKK back to the south!

Bad example- the states already decide the drinking age. In fact, Louisiana has some seriously shitty roads because they refused to raise their drinking age in exchange for the federal highway funds that are given to states on the condition that they maintain a 21+ drinking age. That's the kind of local choice you folks like, isn't it?
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:03 PM on July 18, 2007


@jiawen
Government is bad when it's keeping us from owning guns or making us pay taxes, but it's good when it's disallowing gays and lesbians from marrying who they love
Wrong! Marriage is a thing related with religion and has been offered by several religions as a private service for a couple of thousands years. Government should not have to do anything with marriage and should not give any tax breaks to subsidize marriage.


or preventing women from controlling their pregnancies.

While Ron is a pro life libertarian he denies that the federal government has any right to regulate this issue.

Best Yoyo
posted by yoyo_nyc at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2007


The slow actions of a bloated federal government have made it illegal everywhere and have fossilized it that way.

I think you'll actually find that it became illegal virtually overnight. It was an action of efficient and fast moving government, one typical of such a creature.

Of course Bush is better than a cartoonish feudal anarchy, but we're not comparing those two things.

It's my opinion that cartoonish feudalism is the inevitable result of devolving strong power to local governments. Centralized power is a check and balance on the sort of electorate we have and are likely to have for the next few centuries.

What sort of Snowcrash-bound fantasy world are you envisioning?


One slightly more realistic than the "wouldn't it be nice if everyone were nice" scenario presented by Harry Brown, L. Neil Smith, and other standard bearers of modern libertarianism.

(And I expect it would look more like Arslan than Snowcrash. It certainly would be closer to that than to something like Ecotopia, that's for damned sure.)
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2007


That's misogynistic whether such individuals wish to consider themselves misogynists or not.

No, it's not.
posted by oaf at 5:16 PM on July 18, 2007


Pope Guilty: In fact, Louisiana has some seriously shitty roads because they refused to raise their drinking age in exchange for the federal highway funds that are given to states on the condition that they maintain a 21+ drinking age. That's the kind of local choice you folks like, isn't it?

Is that the kind of federal government you like? I hear the drinking age is lower in Europe too. We should invade and fix their roads, just like the Romans.

they're still supporting placing nonpersons above women. That's misogynistic whether such individuals wish to consider themselves misogynists or not.

PG, as I see it they're rating the lives of legal non-persons higher than a woman's bodily sovereignty. Slight difference.

In general I think the libertarian position should be for the legality of abortion, because your body is regarded as your sanctified property. You should not have to sacrifice a kidney unwillingly, for example, or submit to any kind of bodily invasion, even if it means ultimately saving a life. However, this doesn't mean it's not a complex or clouded issue.

I think Ron Paul's stance owes more to dogged constitutional literalism than misogyny or fetus rights - that the penumbra rationale behind Roe v Wade is not sufficiently grounded in the text of the constitution. I disagree, myself, but there you have it.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:18 PM on July 18, 2007


While Ron is a pro life libertarian he denies that the federal government has any right to regulate this issue

And that's where he joins the Roberts court in his ideology.

Now, as a Californian, I don't particularly care whether Roberts and the Republican-Lites like Paul succeed in gutting Constitutionally-protected liberties. More power to you and them, really.

Let JesusLand continue its braindrain. As things are going, we won't miss them and they sure as hell won't miss us and our "San Francisco values".
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:27 PM on July 18, 2007


Ron Paul was my congressman for a couple of years courtesy of the Texas mid-cycle congressional redistricting gerrymandering. He sent me a birthday card -- gosh! -- and even a holiday-season cookbook/pamphlet illustrated with a big photo of him and his wife. There were a bunch of Bible-quotes in that cookbook, too. Seemed nice enough, if you needed someone to deliver a baby in a small town in Texas (3000+ delivered!) although he never was a good fit for us on Galveston (that blue island near Texas). As a congressman, he was an ineffective nut job, although he did, to some degree, "bring home the bacon" for his district.

I moved to the adjacent district formerly represented by Tom Delay -- a much more effective nut job, in his day.
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:40 PM on July 18, 2007


PG, you do realize in libertarian ideal land, Louisiana would be able to fix their own roads, because the feds wouldn't have taken all the gas taxes that are supposed to pay for them, in the first place.
posted by nomisxid at 6:10 PM on July 18, 2007


PG, you do realize in libertarian ideal land, Louisiana would be able to fix their own roads, because the feds wouldn't have taken all the gas taxes that are supposed to pay for them, in the first place.

But Louisiana wouldn't be able to charge gas taxes.
posted by oaf at 6:15 PM on July 18, 2007


Oaf? Libertarianism is all about usage taxes, they are the tax that ensures only people who use a service pay for it. Smaller govt doesn't mean no govt, no matter how much straw you want to stuff into the man.
posted by nomisxid at 6:18 PM on July 18, 2007


Libertarianism is all about usage taxes, they are the tax that ensures only people who use can afford a service pay for use it

ftfy
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:21 PM on July 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


No, it's not.

Placing the nonexistent rights of nonpersons over the rights of persons, when the category of persons whose rights are being infringed upon are only and exactly the class of women? Misogyny.

PG, as I see it they're rating the lives of legal non-persons higher than a woman's bodily sovereignty. Slight difference.

And only consistent if they also rate the lives of animals above womens' bodily sovereignty.

Is that the kind of federal government you like? I hear the drinking age is lower in Europe too. We should invade and fix their roads, just like the Romans.

I don't like the federal government at all, but for precisely opposite reasons than you.

PG, you do realize in libertarian ideal land, Louisiana would be able to fix their own roads, because the feds wouldn't have taken all the gas taxes that are supposed to pay for them, in the first place.

Not at all. In libertarian ideal land, Louisiana wouldn't build roads. Roads would be privately constructed and would be maintained by their owners, but only to the extent that the owners desired to maintain them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:26 PM on July 18, 2007


Hey Heywood, I'm not advocating the position, merely explaining it.

And we've left out the post-liber-topian boom that would occur as large corps take up the slack on intrastate infrastructure, for their own self-interest of being able to move goods to market, having a local road system so that people can get to jobs to make money to go shopping, etc. In ideal libertarian land, the whole country is a patchwork of company-town style civic improvements, that benefit the common man, but were built to make money for the wealthy. Of course there'd be some waste and grief, when Target and Wal-Mart build competing roads, and then start trying to add clauses to their usage contracts, such that you can only drive on a wal-mart road with wal-mart purchased tires, etc.
posted by nomisxid at 6:34 PM on July 18, 2007


Placing the nonexistent rights of nonpersons over the rights of persons, when the category of persons whose rights are being infringed upon are only and exactly the class of women? Misogyny.

Misogyny implies hate for women. You're coming up short here.
posted by oaf at 6:46 PM on July 18, 2007


PG, I'm assuming that in our magical transition we aren't destroying all the existing infrastructure. Your idealization mileage may vary.
posted by nomisxid at 6:47 PM on July 18, 2007


Misogyny implies hate for women.

And homophobia implies fear of homosexuals. A falsely narrow definition is an invitation to harmful phenomena.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:07 PM on July 18, 2007


the whole country is a patchwork of company-towns

ftfy, again ;)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:14 PM on July 18, 2007


PG: I don't like the federal government at all, but for precisely opposite reasons than you.

What? Were your statement true, you'd dislike the federal government precisely because it doesn't invade enough other countries, throw enough people in cages, or worship hard enough at the cult of the Roman Imperium.

Since I don't think that's what you were saying, you might have been clearer about your own reasons instead of making some kind of cryptic jab about mine.

I've only interacted with you in two threads to memory, but you're coming across as bristly, as if you've already summed up everyone and everything quite neatly in your little philosophical playbook and are annoyed to see other people still working out the problems.

In general I expect and will even put up with a certain amount of hazing (and operettas, nod to Mayor West) in threads about libertarianism. It's elemental to Mefi as much as is the blue interior. But if making the case at all is enough to put some of you off, I wonder if you'd prefer the thread to be nothing but a two minutes hate. Going back to your earlier objections:

I notice that this thread is suddenly not about Libertarian whack-job Ron Paul, but about Libertarianism. Can we discuss one without the other?

A thread about Ron Paul is inevitably a thread about Ron Paul's ideas. If you've already made up your mind on the subject, and just want to burn the man in effigy as a "whack-job," fine, but other people are interested in weighing the merits for themselves. If anything, those ideas are responsible for him voting against both the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, something my state's Democratic senators can't boast. Perhaps a broken clock is right twice a day, but he sure picked the right time.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2007 [3 favorites]


What? Were your statement true, you'd dislike the federal government precisely because it doesn't invade enough other countries, throw enough people in cages, or worship hard enough at the cult of the Roman Imperium.

Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fedgov's extensive interference with your economic ideals. My loathing comes from the fact that the fedgov enforces capitalist property rights and acts as the strong arm of the wealthy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:42 PM on July 18, 2007


Here's a good bit on why advocating the gold standard is similar to advocating the Great Depression.
posted by Astragalus at 7:56 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fedgov's extensive interference with your economic ideals. My loathing comes from the fact that the fedgov enforces capitalist property rights and acts as the strong arm of the wealthy."

LOL

This post made my night. Thank you.
posted by BigSky at 8:18 PM on July 18, 2007


Ah property rights...the basis of our freedom.

Yup, I want my property taken anytime someone else needs it.

BTW, Pope Guilty, may I have your address?
posted by rockhopper at 8:24 PM on July 18, 2007


I need some property...
posted by rockhopper at 8:25 PM on July 18, 2007


*Psst, Pope Guilty, enforcing our rights is really the only thing this constitutional republic was intended to do*
posted by rockhopper at 8:26 PM on July 18, 2007


You know who else is like Ron Paul?

Ron Paul.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:44 PM on July 18, 2007


"Ah property rights...the basis of our freedom slavery."

Fixed that for you.

I do love the conflation of property and possession. It so elegantly serves the rhetorical needs of capitalists to pretend that the options are either absolute property rights a la Smith or having no exclusive rights to anything. The thing is, you don't have property rights. They area fiction, a creation of states which serve to legitimise the power claims of the ruling class That anyone other than the ruling class makes such claims is a sad testament to the extent to which economic power determines culture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:51 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I do love the conflation of property and possession. It so elegantly serves the rhetorical needs of capitalists to pretend that the options are either absolute property rights a la Smith or having no exclusive rights to anything. The thing is, you don't have property rights. They area fiction, a creation of states which serve to legitimise the power claims of the ruling class That anyone other than the ruling class makes such claims is a sad testament to the extent to which economic power determines culture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:51 PM on July 18 [+] [!]


And that was Marx Minute with Pope "Skeeter" Guilty.
posted by rockhopper at 8:58 PM on July 18, 2007


Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fedgov's extensive interference with your economic ideals. My loathing comes from the fact that the fedgov enforces capitalist property rights and acts as the strong arm of the wealthy.

PG, I have two problems with this statement:

1. You're projecting. You've made it clear in your own post that your own beef with the federal government lies in "its interference with your economic ideals." My problem has more to do with civil liberties and a lack of respect for the bill of rights.

2. Your statement is a logical contradiction. Suppose that I were the monocle-polishing, zeppelin-driving anarchocapitalist you take me for. Suppose also that the government did spend its days enforcing capitalist property rights and acting as the puppet of the oligarchs. It follows that the government would be catering to those hyper-capitalistic economic ideals, rather than interfering with them, so I'd have no beef with it. Which is probably why Cheney is smiling in all those photos.
posted by kid ichorous at 9:48 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


My problem has more to do with civil liberties and a lack of respect for the bill of rights.

Libertarians keep saying it, and it just keeps gettin' funnier every time!

Suppose that I were the monocle-polishing, zeppelin-driving anarchocapitalist you take me for. Suppose also that the government did spend its days enforcing capitalist property rights and acting as the puppet of the oligarchs. It follows that the government would be catering to those hyper-capitalistic economic ideals, rather than interfering with them, so I'd have no beef with it.

Except that your beef is how the government carries out capitalism, while my beef is that the government carries out capitalism. From my standpoint, Republican/Democratic/Libertarian are all just members of the same side bickering over details.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:01 PM on July 18, 2007


Wait, wait. PG?! PRETTY GENERIC?!
posted by IronLizard at 10:17 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


What do you want to replace the Fed with, Brian?

The idea behind the Fed was to prop up banks as businesses. I would prop up people instead, and the idea of saving tons of federally insured money so that people would need it for their workless decline and slow death, would be far less important. Fact is, banks don't even serve this retirement-hoarding function anymore, and the junk bond scandal resulted from this complicated form of banker's welfare. But unlike Milton Friedman and many libertarians, I don't blame the Federal Reserve for the great depression.

Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act or Owen-Glass Act, in late 1913. Wilson named Warburg and other prominent bankers to direct the new system, pleasing the bankers. The New York branch dominated the Fed and thus power remained in Wall Street. The new system began operations in 1915 and played a major role in financing the Allied and American war efforts. Wilson considered the Fed to be a private institution and refused to interfere in its working.
posted by Brian B. at 10:32 PM on July 18, 2007


p.g. . . . you might want to check out this.

Geolibertarianism is IMV the only philosophically-pure -ism out there. As a left-libertarian, I'd like to think it would suffice to replace the corrupt / compromised system(s) we have now, but I'm not entirely sure by itself it could or should.

Right libertarians, of course, think the geolibs are a shade pinker than Mao and Stalin, even though such peeps as Churchill and Tolstoy were prominent LVT proponents back in the day.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:39 PM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Except that your beef is how the government carries out capitalism

Except he just said what his beef was, but your either you're retarded enough to just make up what other people are saying and assume that your philosophy is self-evident, (newsflash, not agreeing that fetus=animals does not make someone a hypocrite, just someone who disagrees,) or, you just have a case of "I've-got-everything-figured-out-and-I'll-be-a-snide-asshole-to-anyone-who-isn't-an-ideological-ally-itis," seen chiefly among sheltered college students and neocons. Learn to listen before you label, kiddo.

On preview: Heywood, that's a very interesting looking essay, and some of the arguments the intro made similar to my own conception of rights. I'm not familiar with geolibertarianism, but it looks very intriguing.
posted by Snyder at 10:55 PM on July 18, 2007


Placing the nonexistent rights of nonpersons over the rights of persons, when the category of persons whose rights are being infringed upon are only and exactly the class of women? Misogyny.

That's true. Fortunately for those folks, they believe that they are talking about existing rights of persons. Yours is one of the most bad-faith arguments I've ever seen. The pro-life counterpart to your argument would be that you advocate murder.

But you're not necessarily advocating murder any more than they're necessarily misogynist based upon each of your respective positions on the matter.

Your reasoning would mean that if a driver swerved off the road because he thought he saw a baby on it, and then hit a female pedestrian on the sidewalk, then he's a misogynist because he put the nonexistent rights of a nonperson above that of the woman on the sidewalk.

It would also mean that every bad thing that has ever happened as the direct result of a decision you made on the basis of false belief could be equated to a decision to directly do the bad thing...with prejudice! A bum went hungry because you didn't give him money because you thought he really wanted it for alcohol? Well, then, you must like starving bums on purpose, huh?

I know you feel like you're being tough and saying it like it really is, but what you're doing is just further poisoning the atmosphere in which the debate about abortion resides.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:57 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heywood, you misunderstand. I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone.

Learn to listen before you label, kiddo.

I'm sorry, I'm reacting to a kid ichorous (and good god do I love that name) that I've formed an impression of over a seris of threads over years of reading Metafilter. Should I reset my impressions of people every time a new thread starts?

Your reasoning would mean that if a driver swerved off the road because he thought he saw a baby on it, and then hit a female pedestrian on the sidewalk, then he's a misogynist because he put the nonexistent rights of a nonperson above that of the woman on the sidewalk.

That's absurd. There's been no deliberate consideration of rights made here.

It would also mean that every bad thing that has ever happened as the direct result of a decision you made on the basis of false belief could be equated to a decision to directly do the bad thing...with prejudice! A bum went hungry because you didn't give him money because you thought he really wanted it for alcohol? Well, then, you must like starving bums on purpose, huh?

Woah, there. You're conflating conscious ideologies with unconscious ideologies. I'd guess that a pretty large percentage of misogynists have no idea they're misogynists. An analogy can be seen in people who regard themselves as anti-racist yet behave similarly to these folks. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, and such are generally the result of being raised in a culture that teems with them and until one's called on them, it's very easy for them to be unconscious, simply an unremarked upon and unreflected upon part of one's psyche. Blame can't be attached to things one hasn't any control over. Now, having such things exposed to one and refusing to work to eliminate them? That's fully blameworthy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:10 AM on July 19, 2007


What do you want to replace the Fed with, Brian?

The free and unlimited coinage of silver at a ratio of 16:1! You shall not crucify us on a cross of gold!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:38 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


me -
Some insane gibberish about a Gold Standard would be more in keeping...

gbognar -
Ron Paul is proposing to abolish the Federal Reserve because he is in favor of re-introducing the gold standard.


Can I call 'em, or can I call 'em?
posted by bonecrusher at 7:25 AM on July 19, 2007


I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone

er, um, good luck with that, I guess.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:16 AM on July 19, 2007


Pope Guilty writes "I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone."

That sort of puts you in the wingnut category, inasmuch as that likely isn't going to happen anytime soon, at least not without violent overthrow of the current system on a worldwide basis. But it's not really useful to use words like "wingnut" to refer to people who hold utopian ideals, unless you want to poison the debate. I'm not saying I agree with you. In fact I think it's very much against human nature. But if I call you a "wingnut" for your views, then the conversation pretty much ends there.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:29 AM on July 19, 2007


I'm sure no one cares, but I stupidly linked the wrong XKCD comic above. I meant this one.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 8:31 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


krinklyfig, capitalism is a few hundred years old. If it's against human nature, that suggests that humans didn't become humans until the post-mercantilist era.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Every discussion I've had with a Ron Paul supporter gets flakier the further in I get. I can say, hey, I think things work pretty well but I think that some personal freedoms should exist and that we need to reevaluate international policy, and I'm sure there's some common ground.

However, any time I point to Ron Paul's stance on social issues, his wonky Federal Reserve crap, or anything else, I get a lot of strict constitutionalism hand waving claptrap. Look, it's been over 35 years since Roe v. Wade and the country hasn't fallen apart. The Federal Reserve has some quirks but demolishing a ninety year old institution in the name of principle alone -- not any well-researched studies of how we could transition the system -- is also crap.

If you have to say "we need to radically change this decades-old law/ruling!" as one of your main points, without connecting it to a relevant point in my day-to-day life I agree with, you're just feeding me bullshit. Give me concrete facts, figures, and rationalizations that make me think that such changes will benefit everyone, not just the "principled" and independently wealthy.
posted by mikeh at 11:01 AM on July 19, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Ron Paul is a member of Congress from Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. In his nearly 20 years in Congress, not one of his sponsored bills has ever made it into law."

If only every Representative had such a record.

"The point is that large bureaucracies create waste. When the bureaucracies shrink the average citizen will have more resources. What will those resources go to?"

They'll trickle up to Dick Cheney et al. The problem with libertarians is that they don't realize that efficiency, especially viewed from a selfish, short-term perspective, is not necessarily a good in society.
posted by klangklangston at 3:42 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Why does this thread remind me so strongly of jefgodesky?

Oh, I know - it's the "if we collapse society everything will magically get better" thing.
posted by athenian at 4:06 PM on July 19, 2007


mikeh,

As far as I can tell you're asking why do principles matter. They matter because of trends. When you say the country hasn't fallen apart what are you looking at? It's true that there aren't roving gangs of machete wielding men moving with impunity but that doesn't seem relevant. Of course infrastructure didn't break down over it. The argument is that when the courts are finding these dubious 'rights' in the Constitution they are upsetting the split of government duties. It makes judicial appointment more political. Do you want appointees to have a given set of political beliefs in order to win approval? How about if that means they need to agree with John Yoo's interpretation of broad powers to the executive office including the right to order torture?

When the federal government claims ever increasing powers, local communities are denied the possibility of making decisions themselves. The private citizens who are paying the money have a smaller and smaller voice in how it is spent. Medical Marijuana initiatives and the Oregon suicide law are examples. Where does the Constitution give the Federal government the right to rule on these issues?

If you want to give people choices and to allow for the possibility that how people in Amherst, Mass. choose to live will differ from those in San Bernadino, Cali. and they will both differ from Kingman, Ariz. then these principles matter a great deal. When the federal government is allowed to make rules on matters that are far outside the bounds of what it is appointed in the Constitution we can expect it to continue and eventually result in legislation that we won't like. For example, why should the federal government be allowed to make any regulations on the Internet, or require a National ID card? If you want limited government you have to be committed to what that entails. It's silly just to bitch about the drug war and wire-tapping if you have been giving the Federal government a free pass every other time it exceeded its bounds.

To the Founding Fathers these are crucial issues and when they are ignored the relationship between citizen and government is corrupted, and to you they are "hand waving claptrap" and "crap"?!
posted by BigSky at 6:23 PM on July 19, 2007


why should the federal government be allowed to make any regulations on the Internet

Maybe because they built the damn thing. Big Sky, your defense of libertarian principles in this thread is so lame I am convinced that you are an evil collectivist sent to drive us from the one, true, path.

On the other hand, Rock Hill's fluoridated water is rumored to rot men's brains. So maybe you come by your idiocy naturally.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 PM on July 19, 2007


An executive order issued on Tuesday allows the Secretary of the Treasury, at his (and the president's) own pleasure and without Judicial review or due process, to lock the assets of anyone he determines to "pose a significant risk" to reconstruction in Iraq. But hey, your property isn't a right, right?

"FIF": nor shall any person [...] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:43 PM on July 19, 2007


BigSky: point of etiquette, if you're going to petulantly and vocally abandon a thread, then it's poor form to come back in later as if nothing happened.

To your comment, the problem is with fundamental protections. "States' rights" vis-à-vis civil liberties were a practical necessity at the framing of the constitution because transportation and communication infrastructure couldn't support a broader State enforcing consistency.

I don't want to give people in Amherst the right to practice slavery if they so choose, or discriminatory hiring practices, or spurious property seizure, or a prohibition on sodomy. By resigning these issues to local jurisdictions, you surrender the protections of individuals in monocultural localities. Joe Blow in rural Kansas may have a right to consensual sex with another man, but if the Kansas state legislature has complete authority on the matter, then sympathetic people in other states are impotent to help him.

Hence, the fourteenth amendment, which I believe rightly strips the states of their authority in matters of civil liberties.

You're more than welcome to argue that various topics (abortion, sodomy) aren't actually protected rights, but until you successfully herd the argument through that gate your points about state sovereignty will be moot.
posted by Riki tiki at 7:57 PM on July 19, 2007


Misogyny implies hate for women.
And homophobia implies fear of homosexuals. A falsely narrow definition is an invitation to harmful phenomena.


Misogyny is greek for "hatred of women" homophobia is greek for "fear of sameness" Misogyny dosn't imply hatred of woman, it is hatred of women. Nothing more nor less.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 PM on July 19, 2007


octobersurprise,

So nice to hear from you. Hi!

On the cause(s) of my idiocy, don't be too quick to rule out genetics and willfulness.

I appreciate that the military played a large role in establishing the Internet. But what does that have to do with the Federal government having the authority to regulate it? If the Internet was dependent on military equipment to run I could see the point, but from what I know, it isn't. So, again, why should the Feds be able to tell me that I can bet on the ponies or PowerBall but poker is a no go?

Thanks for the tip on the water. I'll look into that.

-------

Riki tiki,

My intent had been that I was not going to engage in any further argument on whether Ron Paul was a racist or to what extent that was relevant. When I read mikeh's post I wanted to respond as I think these "matters of principle" are pretty important. That said, I see your point and you're right. It is a faux pas, no doubt.

First off, if the Kansas legislature has complete authority in the matter then Joe Blow has a legal 'right' to consensual sex with another man only to the extent that the Kansas legislature says he does. Yes, of course the federal government surrenders dominion on some issues. That's part and parcel of granting liberty. Some communities are going to make choices you disagree with. Perhaps we can still show some respect and tolerance for those other choices.

Yeah, that does contradict some libertarian principles but I'm not a true believer. It's just that I find their policies to often be the most pragmatic choice. My defense of constitutional principles in the reply to mikeh is not about anything innate or essential. It's more along the lines of, if we're going to keep this going for the long term that means treating each other in good faith and playing by the rules we set.

I think there's a bit of a straw man here. No libertarian I've met has ever shown a desire to create some Road Warrior type of world. A marketplace where one can trade two cows, a goat and half an ounce of gold for a 13 year old girl doesn't interest me. While I'm not too wild about the granting of citizenship by virtue of being born within the national borders, the civil liberties protected in the 14th Amendment are important and I don't want to do with away them. My own preferences for libertarian policies have more to do with the Drug War, all victimless crimes at both the state and federal level, a desire to minimize the FDA and their control over supplements, reduction of federal government (IRS, DEA, Dept. of Education etc.), individual control over education (privatization), jury nullification, ending affirmative action and of course, the foreign policy. You don't want slavery in Amherst (!); no kidding, me neither. Having libertarian politics does not mean relinquishing egalitarian values, or looking to eliminate the protection of civil liberties.
posted by BigSky at 10:13 PM on July 19, 2007


BigSky: the civil liberties protected in the 14th Amendment are important and I don't want to do with away them.

Thank you, BigSky. I'd argue even further that the fourteenth amendment is key in making a libertarian outlook possible in the first place, by allowing states to experiment locally and democratically with options like drug legalization and assisted suicide, while restraining them from going completely overboard and dismantling protected rights.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I can't resist...

The year is 2015. Valerie Smith, a newly unemployed lesbian postal worker, lives in Lubbock, Texas, in the newly declared Pentecostal Zone. With the police disbanded and replaced by the City Militia, Valerie withdraws her last few ounces of gold to charter a plane to Vermont Free State before the Sheriff arrives. Up there, she hears, the Statist Resistance still survives, the families connected to Big Government and the Services who had been blacklisted and shunned after the Cutbacks. Powell and Clinton were up North, where they were safe for the moment, as the Convention passed a resolution declaring all previous foreign treaties null and void. If only she can make it in time...
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:18 PM on July 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


echoing my [+] to kid ich's immediately above, my philosophy, disturbingly now absent from both fragments of the SCOTUS, is that the Feds should be in the business of guaranteeing individual liberties from statist/populist encroachments, and not limiting them.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2007


I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone.

This makes your previous comments in this thread make sense, but it's also an if-I-were-king fantasy beyond anything your straw men libertarians indulge in. America is capitalist to the core.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 4:25 AM on July 20, 2007


America is capitalist to the core

Don't kid yourself, Capt. Capitalism.

Sitting on the edge of an rather unpopulated and completely unplundered continent had a lot to do with our initial trajectory, success of our industrial barons (Edison, Rockefeller, Ford, Mellon) in the early 20th century, and the inheritance of the imperial catbird seat in 1945 were contingent forces that got us where we are today.

Once the frontier was largely filled in, and with the excesses of the Gilded Age, social pressures altered our course, parallel to changes in the UK and Bismark's Germany.

I disagree with PG that capitalism -- private ownership of the means of production -- is a modern anomoly, but Americans aren't any more "capitalist" than any other people.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2007


"The argument is that when the courts are finding these dubious 'rights' in the Constitution they are upsetting the split of government duties."

Jesus Christ, libertard, you should be defending the right to privacy, and it's not dubious at all. "Secure in their persons" would have been clearly understood to include a right to privacy by our colonial forefathers, and the reason why "privacy" doesn't appear in the Constitution is because "privacy" would have refered to activities in a privy.

The fundamental fact is that a strong federal government is required for the security of many of our rights, and that as expansive as possible viewing of civil rights and liberties should be taken. Abortion is NOT a state's rights issue, it's a personal liberty (born of the right to not have governmental interference in personal decisions) that the government, state or federal, should respect as much as possible.

Further, could you guys read some of the Federalist papers before nattering on? There's a reason that Locke's "life, liberty and property" was changed to a more Rousseau-ian "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and arguments for a purely free-market approach are blinkered, impractical idiocy best pushed by robber barons, not those fools who have been swept up into a reductive view of political science.
posted by klangklangston at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


"America is capitalist to the core."

Only with a broad, and I'd argue simplistic, understanding of "capitalism." I mean, the fundamental power of Congress for the last 150 years has been rooted in the ability to regulate interstate commerce, which would seem to undermine an argument that America is ideologically capitalist to its core, rather than simply functionally capitalist. And even then, socialist intervention is commonplace and welcome, from safety regulations to the federal highway system. There's also a reason why we don't rely on the self-regulation of industries, and why we try to, socially, mitigate the risk of investment through our guarantees of federal savings insurance or the codification of LLCs.

So saying that America is capitalist to the core is empty sloganeering at best, and willful ignorance to the reality of the country at its rhetorical worst.
posted by klangklangston at 9:04 AM on July 20, 2007


I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone.

Capitalism wouldn't exist if their wasn't the layers of socialist-democratic governments to enforce the game rules and build the infrastructure or roads, defenses, utilities, courts, schools, safety nets for layed off workers. We've come so far under this style of democratic socialism that we've stupidly credited capitalism for the social values rhetoric, and not the other way around. The misunderstanding is so great that when the traditional side-line cranks and hinderers and fiscal limiters of social-democracy actually succeed in winning elections, they begin to dismantle the infrastucture, believing their own propaganda. Libertarianism is nothing more than this preaching.
posted by Brian B. at 3:57 PM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty writes "I don't want capitalism reformed. I want it gone."

That sort of puts you in the wingnut category, inasmuch as that likely isn't going to happen anytime soon, at least not without violent overthrow of the current system on a worldwide basis.


It will collapse on its own, under the weight of corruption, worldwide lack of resources and climate problems, and when most people realize that the harder they work, the bigger loser they are. Nothing wingnut about it. Whatever takes its place will not be any better, but that's because there won't be a choice in the matter.
posted by Brian B. at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2007


"Jesus Christ, libertard, you should be defending the right to privacy, and it's not dubious at all. "Secure in their persons" would have been clearly understood to include a right to privacy by our colonial forefathers, and the reason why "privacy" doesn't appear in the Constitution is because "privacy" would have refered to activities in a privy."

Let me be more specific. I am referring to the 'right' to have an abortion. The right to privacy has long been traced back to the 14th Amendment. Even though the legal reasoning seems a little questionable I do support it. It is the connection to abortion which is dubious. How does the right to privacy extend to the right to have an abortion? What is it about abortion, or some would say, infanticide, that is a private act?

I suspect you won't find those questions to be thought provoking. Perhaps you will find this quote from Justice Blackmun's legal clerk interesting:

"What, exactly, is the problem with Roe? The problem, I believe, is that it has little connection to the Constitutional right it purportedly interpreted. A constitutional right to privacy broad enough to include abortion has no meaningful foundation in constitutional text, history, or precedent - at least, it does not if those sources are fairly described and reasonably faithfully followed."

-Edward Lazarus

"The fundamental fact is that a strong federal government is required for the security of many of our rights, and that as expansive as possible viewing of civil rights and liberties should be taken. Abortion is NOT a state's rights issue, it's a personal liberty (born of the right to not have governmental interference in personal decisions) that the government, state or federal, should respect as much as possible."

Says who? Where is the reasoning? As I said in an earlier post no one is looking to destroy the federal government. There is a difference between 'strong' in the sense of having the authority to grant civil liberties and 'strong' in the sense of massive, over-funded and intrusive. It's the latter that libertarians wish to limit. The BATF is not needed to secure anyone's rights, nor is the Department of Education, nor is Social Security... And finally your claim that abortion is a personal liberty is dependent on if and when you grant the fetus the status of an individual. For those who disagree with your consideration of the fetus it is deeply offensive to call someone's right to murder an infant, a 'personal liberty'.

-----

"It will collapse on its own, under the weight of corruption, worldwide lack of resources and climate problems, and when most people realize that the harder they work, the bigger loser they are. Nothing wingnut about it. Whatever takes its place will not be any better, but that's because there won't be a choice in the matter."

Brian B.,

I'm not sure if you are claiming that corruption has a disproportionately powerful effect on economies at the capitalist end of the spectrum. If you are, then I think you're mistaken. Corruption frequently, but not always, involves the government. The larger the government the more possibility for corruption. The more power and discretion that government agents possess, the more opportunity they have to allow their decisions to be swayed by illicit proposals. When the government has less control over the economy there are fewer occasions for an agent to exercise discretion. This isn't an argument for total deregulation but it is an important relationship to note.

As for the worldwide lack of resources, are you familiar with this?

I don't know how or why the alleged "climate problems" will be more prone to bring capitalist economies to a state of collapse than socialist ones. Seems very implausible. If anything, it will be the reverse. The innovation and efficiency in the capitalist system will become more apparent in times of scarce resources and intensified competition.

And your claim that "most people realize that the harder they work, the bigger loser they are" may reflect your own opinion on the returns from work but there is no evidence here that this is the case. I don't know that there can be. The ambitious and the industrious are rewarded to some degree simply from participation. Setting that consideration aside, how much more time do you estimate will be needed before the rest catch up with you and realize that it is indeed so?
posted by BigSky at 10:20 PM on July 20, 2007


I'm not sure if you are claiming that corruption has a disproportionately powerful effect on economies at the capitalist end of the spectrum. If you are, then I think you're mistaken. Corruption frequently, but not always, involves the government. The larger the government the more possibility for corruption. The more power and discretion that government agents possess, the more opportunity they have to allow their decisions to be swayed by illicit proposals. When the government has less control over the economy there are fewer occasions for an agent to exercise discretion. This isn't an argument for total deregulation but it is an important relationship to note.

So by removing government, you claim to remove corruption. There is the ultimate corruption for you. Under this scenario it has merely succeeded in removing any restrictions for formerly questionable acts, such as dumping waste or abusing slaves, and now legitimizes them, thus removing any ethical problems that were formerly called "corruption."

As for lacking resources such as water, fuel, food, and others, I fail to see how anti-Malthusian sentiments apply here considering that there is a known land shortage and we are running out of energy and means to produce nitrates. Of course, the earth's environment is reacting in a negative way to our fossil fuel plans, which have no sustainable alternative for a growing planet at today's prices. Did the bet predict lower oil prices or just ignore peak oil altogether?

Once conquered diseases are coming back because they adapt too under the same assumptions that anti-Malthusians allow. You could easily suggest that food will be grown in space transported by tractor beams, but then we wouldn't be making the same assumptions about humans. There is no free lunch for humans in any scientific scenario, and a corrupt capitalism where people make more by selling and trading than inventing and producing isn't going to save us.
posted by Brian B. at 6:56 AM on July 21, 2007


I propose that the Los Angeles freeway system be used as an example of libertarian failure. As accounts go, a mass transit system was planned as compeition to cars in the 50's, but coming from the public sector, and so it was fair game for lobbying. This plan was scrubbed at the last minute because of the tire and oil interests. Now it can be argued that we squandered the future over this game. Intead of rationing a precious and mostly public resource by taxing it and providing alternatives (and reducing its atmospheric harm at the same time), we gave it away to capitalists for a song who maxmized its consumption for us--simply because they brainwashed the public into doing it. They can't even claim that their method is natural to getting things done, which often involves collective action to surmount huge obstacles.

This brings us to the moving target of libertarianism. They constantly assume that capitalism can function without government, denying the status quo. It's a dogma run amok without any basis in reality. It's a form of cognitive dissonance by those who fear that their method of getting rich has been closed on them--but it was closed by other monopolists capitalists, not socialists. Hence their cognitive dissonance. They must convince themselves that the window of opportunity is still open, and attack the symptom (regulatory government) instead of the problem, which would cause too much dissonance.
posted by Brian B. at 7:25 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know how or why the alleged "climate problems" will be more prone to bring capitalist economies to a state of collapse than socialist ones. Seems very implausible. If anything, it will be the reverse. The innovation and efficiency in the capitalist system will become more apparent in times of scarce resources and intensified competition.

Don't just take my word for it. Most libertarians know that their real enemy is the scientific environmentalist. Nevermind the oceans and depleted natural fisheries, or logging and the death of coral reefs, those ecologists just don't realize our human needs! Notice how she cops to being a humanitarian when she tosses out the red herrings. And the innovation you speak of is also political.

And your claim that "most people realize that the harder they work, the bigger loser they are" may reflect your own opinion on the returns from work but there is no evidence here that this is the case.

My claim was that people would realize this under libertarian assumptions. If anyone wants to try this I encourage them to do so. Go out and get a minimum wage job, and then get a libertarian job that pays a million dollars a year. If anyone thinks that one is paid minimum wage because they really don't work hard on a cosmic scale of capitalist justice, then they should then be a libertarian. And if you can see the irony here, then you are too smart to be a libertarian.
posted by Brian B. at 7:51 AM on July 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Brian B.,

"So by removing government, you claim to remove corruption. There is the ultimate corruption for you. Under this scenario it has merely succeeded in removing any restrictions for formerly questionable acts, such as dumping waste or abusing slaves, and now legitimizes them, thus removing any ethical problems that were formerly called "corruption.""

This distorts what I said. My response focused on why I thought the ills you listed were unlikely to bring about the collapse of capitalist economies faster than socialist ones. I do acknowledge that there is corruption in capitalist economies that is not related to the government, and I know that some regulation is necessary. Your talk of "dumping waste" and "abusing slaves" is strawman nonsense. As is your later claim that libertarians believe capitalism can function without government. Those who subscribe to that belief are anarcho-capitalists not libertarians. You can't be intellectually honest and identify corruption with the wider set of "ethical problems". Corruption is more limited in scope and refers to short circuits in the system. The less complex the system the fewer opportunities for a short. No one is looking for a return to the Belgian Congo.

"Did the bet predict lower oil prices or just ignore peak oil altogether?"

In 1979, when the bet was made, they didn't consider oil to be a good choice. It isn't impossible for oil prices to drop after peak oil if enough consumers switch to alternative energy sources.

One important fact is that alternative energy innovation is stymied by the price of gasoline not reflecting the total environmental cost. This is the result of government policies that subsidize the oil industry and not proof of environmental destruction resulting from free markets.

Your account of the 1950s mass transit issue in Los Angeles is questionable. I do not accept that it was the interference of General Motors that prevented Los Angeles from having an efficient public transportation system. If you are curious it should be simple to google alternative perspectives.

As for your last paragraph, evidently I am stupid enough to remain a libertarian as I simply can not figure out what you are saying. Effort is not the main variable in determining wage, value to the market is.
posted by BigSky at 2:14 PM on July 21, 2007


Those who subscribe to that belief are anarcho-capitalists not libertarians.

There is no either/or category here. Anarcho-capitalists are likely vote libertarian if they vote at all.

No one is looking for a return to the Belgian Congo.

That would be a strawman. They aren't looking for it, but aren't able to avoid it either.

In 1979, when the bet was made, they didn't consider oil to be a good choice. It isn't impossible for oil prices to drop after peak oil if enough consumers switch to alternative energy sources.

Speaking of good/bad choices, the five metals chosen were recyclable, essentially not consumed at all. However, if we assume the average farm commodity needed to feed the Malthusian masses, then we can show that Malthus is ultimately correct, because farming techniques now rely on the depletion of other resources, even forests and topsoil, and requires pesticides that show reduced effect, translating into higher costs. If we track all falling commodity prices, we find labor costs pulling them down generally, which is an indication of exploiting the same Malthusian cheap labor population curve in order to win the bet.

I do not accept that it was the interference of General Motors that prevented Los Angeles from having an efficient public transportation system.

I don't think General Motors was discussed as the culprit, and at least one subway station was under construction when it was canceled.

As for your last paragraph, evidently I am stupid enough to remain a libertarian as I simply can not figure out what you are saying. Effort is not the main variable in determining wage, value to the market is.

If you admit to not seeing the irony in being unable to get a better job in order to make the comparison, then so be it. However, per hour wages determined by value added to the market is circular. They are in practice determined by a structure which pays the least wage in order to maximize the profit. The market is just a description of the this win-loss. Government does the market a favor by creating demand for higher wages, and even a middle-class, which then creates more opportunity. We'd be third-world without the force of the majority rule (which is only valid might-makes-right argument).
posted by Brian B. at 2:47 PM on July 21, 2007


> "America is capitalist to the core."

Only with a broad, and I'd argue simplistic, understanding of "capitalism." I mean, the fundamental power of Congress for the last 150 years has been rooted in the ability to regulate interstate commerce, which would seem to undermine an argument that America is ideologically capitalist to its core, rather than simply functionally capitalist. And even then, socialist intervention is commonplace and welcome, from safety regulations to the federal highway system. There's also a reason why we don't rely on the self-regulation of industries, and why we try to, socially, mitigate the risk of investment through our guarantees of federal savings insurance or the codification of LLCs.


When I use the word capitalism, I do mean it in a very simple (but not simplistic, please) sense: free trade. Yes, of course America is not an anarchist non-state, but all its governmental interference, no matter how supposedly anti-capitalist, is built on a foundation of free trade. The basic assumption is one of freedom, with added layers of meddling to fix some undesirable consequences of that freedom. Compare this to European social democracy, where the institutions of the state exist to create a well ordered society, rather than merely to prevent an extremely disordered one.

So what makes me think this kind of freedom is ideological rather than expedient? Folks like Thomas Jefferson who were instrumental in the construction of the United States, and had radical views on liberty.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 6:58 AM on July 23, 2007


"Yes, of course America is not an anarchist non-state, but all its governmental interference, no matter how supposedly anti-capitalist, is built on a foundation of free trade."

No, it's not. It's built on a foundation of being minimally onerous— It is the very soul of a practical decision, based on the failure of the first attempted American confederation.

Thomas Jefferson is a bad example for you, being explicitly anti-mercantilist, and seeking a structuralism that would favor agrarian interests over those of urban capitalism. Hamilton's the one you want to look to for (and I'd also say that I feel his emphasis on urbanism helped America at least as much as Jefferson's rural emphasis). Framing Jefferson as having radical views on liberty is even a bit of a canard, as Jefferson had radical views on independence more than on liberty— that was the thrust of his imagination, that Americans be essentially self-sufficient actors, and that as much liberty as possible was necessary to achieve that. But that's rather orthagonal to the idea of non-interference in markets, and Jeffersonian democracy became distorted into Jacksonian democracy. If you want to look to the ultimate legacy of that thread in his philosophy, it's the exploitation of alienated exurbanites and Westerners by the hypocritical modern Republican party— which is willing to embrace the rhetoric of non-interference, even as it undermines protections of real independence and bolsters that of big business. Theodore Roosevelt was the last good Jeffersonian president we've had, and even he came from the urban capital of America. But America is fundamentally too connected and too given to factionalization for Jefferson's Virginia to be anything more than a corrective tensioner on the line of American democracy.
posted by klangklangston at 9:45 AM on July 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


"What is it about abortion, or some would say, infanticide, that is a private act?"

You'd argue that it's a public act? It's none of your goddamned business if a woman disagrees with your personal beliefs regarding the life of HER fetus.

That's it. There's nothing else. If you can't understand why it's a personal, private decision, and the fundamental compromise of public and private good encapsulated in Roe v. Wade, you're too much of an idiot to bother with on anything else. You may disagree, and that's your right, but if you can't get that simple quiddity, there's no use trying any other reasoning with you.
posted by klangklangston at 9:49 AM on July 23, 2007


"You'd argue that it's a public act? It's none of your goddamned business if a woman disagrees with your personal beliefs regarding the life of HER fetus.

That's it. There's nothing else. If you can't understand why it's a personal, private decision, and the fundamental compromise of public and private good encapsulated in Roe v. Wade, you're too much of an idiot to bother with on anything else."

There is something here that you don't get. And no matter how much you want to look past it and consider it settled, it isn't. The whole point is that whether or not it is "HER fetus" is a very contentious issue. Obviously it's hers in that it is physically connected to her body but that's not the relevant context if the fetus is considered to be an individual with a right to life. Once the fetus is viewed as an individual then an abortion is a criminal act upon his person and the legislation treating that crime is a matter of public concern.

Setting that aside, even if you do look at the fetus as not having the legal status of a person the connection between the 'inferred' right to privacy and the right to have an abortion is thin to the point of nonexistent. Did you read that quote in my previous post from Edward Lazarus? He was Justice Blackmun's clerk and he believes that women do have a right to an abortion and that there is an argument on the federal level which can be made for it, but it isn't through the 14th Amendment by way of the right to privacy. There are few legal scholars who find Roe v. Wade to be well written, and many prominent legal thinkers from both the left and right who think Justice Blackmun had no textual authority for the opinion he wrote.

But I guess we're all too much of idiots to understand why "it's a personal, private decision". If only the nation's best legal scholars had your insight.
posted by BigSky at 2:58 PM on July 23, 2007


"But I guess we're all too much of idiots to understand why "it's a personal, private decision". If only the nation's best legal scholars had your insight."

They did. It was a decision called Roe V. Wade that ballanced the public and private nature of state interest in abortion very well.

Past that, to not immediately default to the simple idea that it is a woman's personal decision regarding whether or not she believes a fetus is an independent life shows that you're bullshit when it comes to liberty. Sorry. I understand your position, but it's based on magical thinking and on trying to impose your personal views on another citizen— liberty comes from giving people the ability to disagree and still have the freedom act according to their beliefs. And your ad hoc appeals to authority and convoluted justifications of rote and facile reactionary anti-choice positions should have long ago made you realize that you only favor social freedom when it's convenient.

So, yes, you're too much of an idiot to get it if you still want to trot out the crap you're trotting out. At least I'm honest when I'm illiberal.
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on July 23, 2007


It was a decision called Roe V. Wade that ballanced the public and private nature of state interest in abortion very well.

This is not the case, sadly. Roe v. Wade was decided on very tenous Constitutional grounds, and I think that this may be something that comes back to bite us in the ass. By no means is Roe considered a great leagal decision, and many (including me) who think so are not anti-choice by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by Snyder at 5:16 PM on July 23, 2007


klangklangston,

Newsflash, like Snyder, I'm pro-choice. And the best legal scholars do not think much of Roe v. Wade at all. That you assert they do reveals your deep ignorance of the matter. These are not reactionary positions, Edward Lazarus is pro-choice. To repeat myself, he even thinks there is an argument to be made for women having the right to an abortion at the federal level. Unlike you, he is an intellectually honest enough man to point out that Roe v. Wade is a horrible decision.

And while my personal preference is to live in a community that values individual liberty enough to allow abortions, I also acknowledge the importance of working with the principles of the Constitution. In my opinion, this makes the state the proper setting for any legislation on abortion. I know that reasonable people can disagree on that issue. But only the most dogmatic, strident feminists hold the view that Roe v. Wade was something other than a political decision which lacked support for its claims.

We can not default to letting the woman decide whether the fetus is an independent life. That isn't her call because there are legal entailments that potentially come into play. If it is, then the community has an obligation to protect the rights of the fetus. There must be an agreed upon stance on when it is considered an individual. We can agree that it isn't one and that the woman has the right to abort, but in this case the woman is making a different decision (not in practical effect, but still different), and the question of legal status was made by the community. Somehow, I'm not exactly surprised that you managed to conflate a woman's decision on whether to take her pregnancy to term, with the law's ruling on whether it is an individual with a right to life.

If you should someday wish to mature your 'understanding' of liberty to one that is slightly more sophisticated, consider whether a community should have the ability to set some standards for themselves. And if so, how much latitude should they have in setting that standard?
posted by BigSky at 7:26 PM on July 23, 2007


"And the best legal scholars do not think much of Roe v. Wade at all. That you assert they do reveals your deep ignorance of the matter."

Do you want me to keep count of your fallacies, or do you score at home? I mean, this is a classic appeal to authority, combined with a tautological insult.

"Unlike you, he is an intellectually honest enough man to point out that Roe v. Wade is a horrible decision."

Except that it wasn't. Have you read it? It's pretty fucking tight, and is based on a lot of common law precedent.

"And while my personal preference is to live in a community that values individual liberty enough to allow abortions, I also acknowledge the importance of working with the principles of the Constitution. In my opinion, this makes the state the proper setting for any legislation on abortion."

Bullshit. I mean, if you want to support your opinion, go for it. But vague appeals to experts and the Constitution just show you to be an empty suit on this one.

"But only the most dogmatic, strident feminists hold the view that Roe v. Wade was something other than a political decision which lacked support for its claims."

See, and this is an ad hominem fallacy. Just so you know, for next time.

"We can not default to letting the woman decide whether the fetus is an independent life. That isn't her call because there are legal entailments that potentially come into play. If it is, then the community has an obligation to protect the rights of the fetus."

And this is circular reasoning. The potential for "entanglements to come into play" (Christ, what an empty phrase) is moot if the fetus isn't considered a separate life. Which is why the Roe v. Wade decision balanced the traditional legal views on quickening with the right to privacy regarding the choice. That's where we get the whole trimesters thing— that's when a fetus can survive on its own, and then legally is afforded more protections. But since I get the feeling that you've never read anything more than an op-ed on the subject, I might just be teaching French to a pig here.

"We can agree that it isn't one and that the woman has the right to abort, but in this case the woman is making a different decision (not in practical effect, but still different), and the question of legal status was made by the community."

There is no community on this— as a libertarian, you should recognize that especially in this case, the individual judgment of the pregnant woman trumps community interest, with a gradient of governmental interference. But that would be if you were, you know, a consistent thinker instead of someone buggered by conservatism yet seeking the cachet of libertarianism.

"Somehow, I'm not exactly surprised that you managed to conflate a woman's decision on whether to take her pregnancy to term, with the law's ruling on whether it is an individual with a right to life."

God, you really haven't read the decision, have you? This is not something that the law can have a bearing on, because it's essentially a religious decision. And just as the government has no right to know a citizen's religion, it has no right to know what she has decided regarding her fetus (obviously, again, mitigated by a growing societal interest as the fetus develops).

"If you should someday wish to mature your 'understanding' of liberty to one that is slightly more sophisticated, consider whether a community should have the ability to set some standards for themselves. And if so, how much latitude should they have in setting that standard?"

Oh, you're precious. If at some point you would like to read a book, JS Mill's On Liberty might be a good start for you.
posted by klangklangston at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really don't want to get into this argument. But I have read RvW and have read a great deal of legal commentary on it, and while it's not true to claim that all legal scholars have problems with, it's true to say that a large number of legal scholars have some problems with it.

Personally, I think it's bad constitutional law. But it's good public policy.

I'm apparently one of the few pro-choicers who don't dismiss the claims of pro-lifers out-of-hand. It has always seemed to me that pro-choicers that completely dismiss the status of the fetus as irrelevant compared to a woman's right to control her own body are as deliberately obtuse as the pro-lifers who completely dismiss the woman's right to control her own body as irrelevant compared to the status of the fetus. Obviously, if the pro-lifers are right that the fetus is a person, then the state has a responsibility to protect its life. Obviously, a woman has a right to control her body.

It's the people that want easy answers to a difficult problem that are being dishonest.

Of course, it's the pro-lifers who are being more dishonest than everyone else. I certainly believe that there is a minority of them who sincerely are concerned about the human being that they believe a fetus to be, but I'm quite sure that the majority are simply reactionary anti-feminists. While there's a good number of weird extremists on the pro-choice side that make this an issue that's contested on an all-or-nothing, extreme rhetoric basis, it's the pro-lifers, by far, who have captured the debate and placed it into an extreme realm.

I believe four things that (sometimes) make me a pro-choice apostate. First, I don't particularly like RvW as constitutional law. As I said, I like it as public policy when compared to a pro-life abolition of abortion. But RvW is strained in several ways, it's not particularly strong. I suppose they did they best with that they had to work with, but in my ideal world I'd prefer a case that was built around the ERA that didn't pass.

Second, I think that the possibility of a fetus being a human being is so serious a possibility that it requires being taken seriously. It also seems to me to be inherently liberal to do so: the liberal tradition has been one to see human rights where before they weren't thought to apply. If fetuses are human beings, they shouldn't be aborted. That would place a terribly burden on women, but I don't see a way around it. That is, if fetuses are humans. I think any person serious about ethics and morality should be required to give this great thought. It's immature to just dismiss the status of the fetus out-of-hand.

Third, I find viability and birth to be entirely unreasonable dividing lines for deciding the status of a fetus. If a fetus reaches the status of a human being, it should be decided according to attributes that are the very nature of being a human being. Viability is arbitrary, birth an inescapable dividing line but not, I think, very convincing as a moment in time when something not human becomes human.

Fourth, then, I'm inclined to place that moment of becoming human before birth, as most everyone agrees that it's true at birth, and I just don't see anything special happening to a fetus at birth. It's pretty much doing everything it can do before and after, except breath on its own. It's brain isn't any different. However, I'm willing to go the other direction and question the unanimity of the idea that a newborn baby is fully human. I'm not sure that it is. But going that direction fails in practicality—I'm not going to get many people to take seriously the idea that infanticide is acceptable. And it also violates a good rule of thumb to err on the side of caution when making decisions on human rights issues. All in all, I'm more comfortable with the idea that a fetus the day before it's born is a person than I am that a baby the day after it's born isn't.

On the other hand, and through similar reasoning, I don't see how a fetus is a human being in any sense in the first trimester, and its status in the second is uncertain. To me, abortion is the equivalent of contraception during the first trimester, albeit much more taxing on the woman.

Very few women even want to have abortions in the third trimester. I'm sure also that many that do would have had them earlier if they were more widely available. Not that many clinics perform third-trimester abortion, anyway. So I don't feel that prohibiting most or all third-trimester abortions would be an onerous burden on women.

The big problem for the pro-choicers that share my position is that the pro-lifers have so much clout, that anything that weakens RvW, anything that weakens the availability of any abortions, is used as a wedge in the fight against all abortions. These people are fighting the morning after pill, for crying out loud! So pro-choicers like myself are forced to take an opposing extreme stance to keep the pro-lifers at bay. Even if we don't particularly like RvW and don't particularly like third trimester abortions.

I get shit from fellow pro-choicers about where I deviate from dogma, but I don't really blame it on them. I blame it on the pro-lifers who are so nutty and extreme that they make it hard for anyone to be truly reasonable in this debate.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:07 PM on July 24, 2007


klangklangston,

As a matter of fact, I have read the decision. However, I am not an attorney, and much of the case law is opaque to me. So I do look at what the experts have to say, and when I see distinguished liberal law professors who are pro-choice tearing Roe v. Wade to pieces, like here, it carries weight. Furthermore, all of these criticisms from both the left and right focus on the same issue, the lack of connection between privacy and abortion. I have brought this issue up before and your only response to it was in your 12:49 July 23rd post that it is a private act because... uh, because it's personal? because it's not a public act?

Yeah.

It isn't a private act because there is a discontinuity between abortion and other areas considered by the court private. It may be private in the way the word is commonly used (although as I mentioned above this is very offensive to those who consider the fetus to be an individual life), but that doesn't mean it is within the sphere of protection given by the right to privacy. That's where the discontinuity lies. It is not addressed by Justice Blackmun in the opinion and this has been pointed out time and time again.

Pretty fucking tight it is not.
posted by BigSky at 3:37 PM on July 24, 2007


Ethereal Bligh,

I agree with much of what you say but I do have a couple of points of contention. The first is that the majority of the pro-life contingent is made up of reactionary anti-feminists. No doubt there are some on that side who despise feminism but what gives you the impression it is the majority? Are you talking about the 40%+ who are pro-life, or only those who are militantly against it? My take is that they are a fairly religious crowd with a strong belief in the soul and absolute morality. Obviously they can have those two beliefs and be resentful of feminism but I think it is their religious beliefs that fuels their activism.

The second issue is some of your phrasing suggests that the question of whether a fetus is a human being or not, can be definitively answered. I think Justice Blackmun was right when he wrote in his notes that the distinction in the decision was arbitrary. How could this question ever be answered, to where it was something more than a reflection of the community asking the question? Since the answer to this question is the presupposition for any legislation that is written we certainly do have to consider it. I'm not saying that it can be avoided, but only that the answer is more reflective of how we feel about human (?) life in a barely recognizable form, freedom to control one's body, economic equality of women, and a host of other issues, than anything else.
posted by BigSky at 8:54 PM on July 24, 2007


« Older Researchers have demonstrated what veteran dumpste...  |  Anyone CAN Cook... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments