Is Government Immoral? Stefan Molyneux vs. Tom Willcutts

Tragedy & Hope presents a debate between Stefan Molyneux and Tom Wilcutts on the question, "Is government by its very nature immoral?" The debate is hosted by James Corbett of The Corbett Report.

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  1. Thank you, Stefan and Tom. I think what is at issue with big government and private corporations is something our founding fathers had to deal with. In my humblest opinion that line between big government and corporate power is blurred beyond recognition today. Each has a vested interest in maintaining power and profit against Common law principles, which thankfully was brought up in the latter part of this interview.

    Moreover, I want both Tom and Stefan to be aware of this quote:

    “Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilized nations.”

    –Thomas Jefferson

    Furthermore, I wonder why both did not address whether by big government or big business the [A]morality of our legislative branch and corporate entities. I think C.Parkinson Northcoate would have loved to weigh in on this debate. Bureaucracy by both are by definition greedy. Each will try and survive against the common good. And, both do not lend itself to remedy and recourse as understood by the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Yes, I am getting to precedence as nebulous and penurious my post may be.

    I would like to ask Tom this, though. He was right to bring up Andrew Jackson and his killing the 20 year charter in continuance of a central bank. It took 77 years (December 23, 1913) for a privatized central authority to control our money supply. Now I would like to ask Tom and Stefan this. Whose face is on the twenty dollar bill? Yep, Andrew Jackson!

  2. CuChulainn says:

    a thinking person tempted by the pernicious silliness of Molyneaux, Corbett etc. might read Domenico Losurdo, _Liberalism a counter-history_

  3. Rose Mary says:

    A quick into to Domenico Losurdo.
    – he is marxist
    – he is anti-Christian (the elite is anti-Christian)
    – “In his view, Kant and Hegel were the greatest thinkers of modernity” (both are elitists philosophers)

    🙁

  4. Rose Mary says:

    Master–slave dialectic (Hegel) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master%E2%80%93slave_dialectic

    Hegel is a “satanic” philosopher.

  5. Rose Mary says:

    “Secret societies” does not exists in Stefan Molyneux’s world. But they are both good guys.

  6. I wonder if the question might be more clear, if it were stated as “Is Public Government Immoral?” Or maybe “Is Public Immoral?”

  7. Xicha – You do touch on a critical point, which is that Anarcho-capitalists such as Molyneux are merely substituting one type of legal system for another, which is a “privatized” for-profit legal system. This new legal system will create laws, adjudicate laws and enforce laws, as illustrated by Molyneux’s little dramatization of how it will work. This new legal system must be evaluated on its own merits.

    I was just listening to a lecture on the origins of Libertarianism, where the early Libertarians did not focus specifically on the abuse of government, but rather they focused more generally on the problems of the abuse of power and the problems that occur when you get an over-concentration of power. They saw power as the enemy of liberty, and they evaluated governments in terms of how they dealt with this problem in their design.

    The devil is in the details. You can have a well-designed and well-operated government or you can have a tyrannical one. If a government becomes tyrannical, then it should be rejected. This is precisely what is articulated in the Declaration of Independence. And there is no magic-wand solution to the people doing the hard work of taking responsibility for what type of government they have.

    The ANCAP solution, unfortunately, is not well thought out nor conceived. Their privatized legal system would be an enormous power hand-out to the large corporations, which already exercise too much power over the existing “public” government. In essence, the ANCAPs address the problem of corporate capture and corruption of the public legal system by handing over control of the legal system directly to the corporations.

    – Tom Willcutts

  8. Thanks, Mr. Willcutts. I enjoyed listening to the debate and think that Molyneux was incapable of defending his position against you. When he tried to make the point that government is not a “tool” like a gun, because guns don’t collect taxes, I felt like I was listening to a child. Of course it is still a tool, even in the collection of taxes. Generally, the actual tax collectors/auditors/police officers/or even judges who take part in the collection, are not the ones who are benefiting, except by the rewards for being good tools. But they are not driving tax policy or reaping the huge profits from weapons manufacturers where all our tax dollars go.

    He did not address who is pulling the strings behind government now or what would become of those with such power, if there were no government. While Corbett normally exposes those behind the scenes in power, I wonder how he can trust or think that taking away government would strip them of their power. That they would have no other tools. That they wouldn’t revel in the disappearance of what little effect of government regulation which currently exists.

    As you mentioned in the debate, it is sometimes the threat of the power of government in the hands of the people, which keeps the pirates at bay. Even though current government regulation is ineffectual against corporate abuse of power, I think there at least used to exist a fear of the government becoming effectual against them in the future.

    As for “reputable” private defense organizations (or whatever they are called) in the example, there would immediately be a cash cow in the “non-reputable” business, to handle all the services for those on the “blacklist”, at a higher premium.

    You’re correct when you say that it isn’t well thought out – their answer to this point is that it doesn’t have to be – that they don’t need to argue from effect, as Corbett likes to say – they only need to give up on the immoral government and let the cookie crumble where it may, trusting all things in the market god, where we shall all find our true market value. Yuck.

    I really wonder whether it’s a logical trap that has Corbett stuck in this philosophy, because he seems smart enough to avoid logic pitfalls. Or if it’s some kind of psychological slant or revenge mentality, as I think is the case with Molyneux, who I sense has been damaged personally in some way and has found some kind of refuge in individualism. What is this?

  9. Even Robert Nozick argued in “Anarchy, State, and Utopia” that a system of privatized enforcement will not work, where coercive force ends up basically in the hands of the top gangster; so he endorsed a minimal public government that sticks to the basics, enforcing the rule of law thus constituted for the protection of the life, liberty and property of its citizens.

    Molyneux seems to put much too much faith in the “magic” of the free market. Free markets are wonderful, but they cannot exist as “free” outside of a framework providing an even playing field whose rules are consented to by all. Such an unhinged “free market” that he fantasizes about would ultimately lead to a Hobbesian war of all against all, in which case “freedom” finds itself enshackled by fear.

  10. Very well stated, ROro! That is quite a nut you packed into that shell.

  11. Xicha – I agree that Corbett’s hardcore position on this topic is somewhat puzzling and seems out of character with some of his other views/observations. I’d love to talk it out with him – he did say during the debate that he had more questions that he did not ask.

    Btw – on the government as a tool metaphor and the analogy to guns – Molyneux has repeatedly analogized government to a loaded gun. The funny thing is that later in the debate, operating on auto-pilot, he began to repeat that analogy and then caught himself, stopped and chose a different. I thought that was sorta funny. 🙂

  12. ProudPrimate says:

    I’m a couple of days late commenting, because I wanted to wait for a day off from work, to be fresh when I came to it. I knew it would be an ordeal, and it was – I’m still at 1 hour 7 minutes. But I think it was well worth doing, and I’m grateful to all three for having done it.

    I come to this issue on the traditional side, the side of Jefferson, “that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men”, and I must say I haven’t changed my mind. When Tom played the audio of Stefan’s vignette, I could have sworn I was listening to the solemn tones of John Galt after he had commandeered the world radio. The idea that Statism is a religion, and Ayn Randism isn’t, and “the genius of the free market” is not treated as a sacrament, and its name is not spoken naively with glowing eyes, I find utterly unconvincing.

    At one point Stefan spoke about hundreds of companies in a previous period being reduced to 4 or 5 as evidence of some sort of purification, as if this proved that the market was “working”. I found this quite shocking. That’s nothing to celebrate: that’s Monopoly. You have the choice of Coke or Pepsi. Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays called it “the illusion of choice”, something that had a beneficial effect in crowd management.

    In Federalist 51, Madison pointed out the necessity of “setting ambition against ambition”, and anyone that thinks the truly free market will produce anything but monopoly or oligarchy simply doesn’t know how the game is played. Stockholders have no more morals than . . . well, you know. Their one parameter is the bottom line.

    The liberating work of the Barons at Runnymede, and the great and noble Charter that resulted are being destroyed as we look on, and it all started with deregulation.

    Santayana pointed out that progress is not a matter of change but of retention. Primitive societies have nothing to build on because they don’t remember the past, so they remain in infancy. You may agree with Rousseau about the Noble Savage, but successful societies require structure.

  13. ProudPrimate says:

    Xicha –

    “there would immediately be a cash cow in the “non-reputable” business, to handle all the services for those on the “blacklist”, at a higher premium.”

    OHH, yes. Yes there would.

  14. Thanks for the comments, PP. It seems, from the comments on this and on the recent State Atheism piece by Corbett, that the commenting community here at BFP falls completely on the side of Willcutts in this debate. I was surprised, because I actually thought there were more out here that would be willing to make a statement in support of the other side. But, I’m happily surprised to see that it is more a slant of some of the producers here than the community itself.

    Speaking of producers here, the latest Traces of Reality, Jimenez’ pre-BFP show, linked on the BFP Nightly News a couple days ago, is an excellent compliment to this debate. Although the guest and host agree about the main issue in the discussion, Prohibition as a complete failure, the guest doesn’t mind a little socialism with his liberty and ends up, IMO, making the host’s anit-state rhetoric look more knee-jerk and authoritarian than based in logic and rationality. I really appreciate Jimenez, but you can audibly hear him fighting against himself when faced with things that “make sense” to him, but don’t fit what he is supposed to think.

    I highly recommend it:

    http://tracesofreality.com/2013/08/03/tor-radio-august-2-2013-police-captain-peter-christ-on-ending-the-war-on-personal-freedom/

  15. ProudPrimate says:

    That is a superb interview, without a doubt. I’ve heard probably three quarters of it, and it is extremely high quality thanks for posting that.

  16. And another example:

    At the 9:45 mark, James EP informs us of Richmond, CA’s use of eminent domain to stop foreclosures. James C then badmouths the use of government by the people, as it opens the door to the nefarious use of the same tool. What’s missing from his argument is the necessary responsibility of the people to use the tool responsibly. Same as the gun argument. And we see/hear James C’s internal conflict, as socialism for the people is actually a good thing…

  17. Andrew,

    (continued from other thread – moved here…)

    I have appreciated learning about the libertarian and ANCAP perspectives being offered here at BFP, as a part of a mix of perspectives. This site and Sibel really can’t be categorized and she emphasizes this frequently. The idea is to try to understand different viewpoints here and not get into the “looks like a duck, so it’s a duck” categorizations and labels. But, at a recent point, it all sort of boiled over for me and I began to really question whether or not this anti-state movement was really anti-state and whether or not there were oligarchical funds pushing it along.

    I started seeing, very clearly and intuitively (I mean, who have the privatizers been my whole life? The fascist, super-rich, owners of my city.), that this may be an effort from the oligarchy (not from Sibel or Corbett or Jimenez) to influence resistance to tyranny, by creating increased apathy towards cleaning up corruption (the message being that this would only support a “statist” POV). This aspect, among the many good, clean, and respectable aspects of the ANCAP perspective, could be worth the money for them.

    I started to think that, what was behind the ANCAP individualism, was really a privatized government. A delusion of coercion-free voluntarism in a hyper-network of insurance company power bliss. With a profit motive. I saw that liberty cannot exist in a vacuum. I began to think about government as a tool (thanks, Tom Willcutts!) and imagined the correlations to the gun control debates.

    Then I added the logical question: Is Liberty a public interest? If everyone has liberty, then individuals can truly limit their own, without infringing on others’ (non-aggression principle, right?)

    Now, I’m looking to find out about where it’s coming from. Mises seems to be one of the main veins. I looked up their funding and found 2.5 mil in annual donations and gifts. I referenced the many times that this has been a concern about independent media and, even though they give Sibel a voice and I know she respects Lew Rockwell, I am trying to find out if there’s any big money there that might help a few others get hip to my thinking on the matter. I don’t have any idea who gives their gifts, how to find out, or if it’s possible.

    I think that what we have now is a privatized government, which gets to wear a mask of a public government. This benefits the oligarchy by having the centralized control and having complaints about tyranny be aimed at the government, instead of who is wielding it.

    That’s why my goal is to have a public government. It’s the only path to liberty, because of its public interest in it and the fact that liberty is not an island (survivor theme – don’t get voted off). And all societies will end up with a system for the creation, interpretation, and enforcement of laws. There is no possibility of a stateless society, only a privatized one.

    I look forward to your feedback.

    • Xicha,

      Thanks for the response. I’m going to take some time before I give you a personal response but I have a few easy thoughts at this point. I watched that “debate”. I am a “producer” (a slight exaggeration but Richard Grove insists ;)) and subscriber at T&H. I very much looked forward to that as I found (and suppose I still do) myself very compelled by Tom Wilcutts’ written debates with members of that community. In threads I was reading around that time, Tom was definitely on the “socialist’ side of those threads – a very relative thing at T&H. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the debate itself.

      I got the feeling Tom was not prepared for an actual debate. A debate generally follows a set of rules and I didn’t feel that Tom was attempting to follow those. In turn, I got the feeling Molyneux was annoyed. Instead of trying to work out a compromise somehow, they both seemed to push on, in their own way. Maybe that’s all beside the point.

      Here are a couple of links to threads at T&H that Tom participated in. To be honest, I’m not sure you can view them, if you’re not a member (which is free, if you want). Sorry if that’s the case. They are interesting because they contain mostly rational, thoughtful people with differing opinions on this topic, having a discussion.

      http://tragedyandhope.ning.com/forum/topics/discussion-of-the-video-why-libertarianism-is-wrong-by-billburns2?xg_source=activity

      http://tragedyandhope.ning.com/forum/topics/larken-s-challenge-if-you-were-king?xg_source=activity

      Again, I’ll be back soon, when I can take some more time for a more personal response. Thanks for your patience.

      • Thanks. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind reading, but am not a member. The login page says membership is invitation only. Hmm… since I’m interested in the material, I’ll invite you to invite me, if you can: zicatanka@gmail.com Thanks in advance if you can. Since you don’t really know me, I will understand if that’s not appropriate.

      • BTW, isn’t Molyneux always annoyed? I can’t stand to listen to him very long. Same goes with Larken Rose. Something so pretentious, arrogant, you name it – smarmy is one word that comes to mind. I honestly hope that’s not my “filter” applied to people I disagree with. I don’t think so. You can visualize that snickering grin when he talks, like a thief with an alibi. No humility.

        It’s a visceral reaction for me.

  18. Watch “The Rise of Conservatism” on YouTube

    • Xicha,

      I watched the video. I assume you’d agree that it’s difficult to really get anything contextually useful out of history ‘lesson’ that only takes 15 minutes. That said, I agree that it seems many of the, what I will call, superfluous U.S. characteristics have tended ‘conservative’. However, more accurately to our discussion, the U.S. gov’t has become anything but – George HW Bush growing gov’t more than all previous presidents combined and all that. There’s nothing conservative about the DHS. About U.S. foreign policy. About U.S. fiscal policy.

      I should break in here and say that I am relatively new to libertarian (notice the small l) thought – and I actually prefer the voluntaryist (voluntarist) title – and am still very much working through the ideas. Further, I would probably be considered a very unlikely candidate for ‘conversion’ to these ideas. I won’t get into too much detail but my track comes very much through a ‘left’ leaning, even hippy/new-age track. Not from my upbringing necessarily just from my own development. I understand the appeal of left ideology as opposed to right (truly a false dichotomy). I can understand the case for left whereas the right seems like a much harder sell.

      Ok, back on point. I think a huge problem with these discussions, in general, is a lack of definition. This is why I agree with Mark Edge, of freetalklive.com (a sort of voluntarist 101 radio show) when he despises the term AnCap. The idea of putting two, generally ill-defined words together in order to explain a philosophy is dubious at best. Most people want to dismiss ‘capitalism’ based on, what essentially is, the fascism of today. Further, most people hear anarcho and think of young people with balaclavas, throwing bricks through store windows. Therefor, AnCaps are constantly having to both battle against people who think they are supporting one thing and then redefine the terms of the discussion and hence, I believe a lot of misunderstanding ensues. I feel myself getting out of hand here so I will just attempt to address your thoughts more directly.

      I don’t know who funds Mises. I think an interesting experiment would be to write them with your concerns and see if they’ll divulge any of their sources. For me, I have not been able to argue out of the idea of voluntary participation being the unstoppable crux, along with and including, the NAP (non aggression principle) of the ideas of liberty. If you read Tom’s threads (I will try to get you an invite over there. It may have changed since I joined for free several years ago but I will see what I can do. There are a lot of very good threads and it’s worth the time, even though I haven’t spent much of it there lately), you will see that Tom’s version of gov’t is all voluntary and is much closer, imo, to an AnCap philosophy than anything you’ll find on the left. If you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to. I have a hard time arguing with that.

      The one thing that I have not heard/read Tom explain is, even if corporations can exist without gov’t, how, without the tool of forced taxation, would they ever become as powerful as they currently are. There is no way, without coercive taxation (a ‘tool’ of gov’t) that Walmart could fund a military force to enable them to achieve their current status. We clearly do have a “privatized” gov’t but why is this not the obvious end-result OF gov’t? One can point to no time in history where the arc of a gov’t does not move this direction.

      So, Xicha, reading back now, I should apologize for rambling. I feel like I barely addressed your concerns. I’m going to end now before I blather anymore and will try to continue, more focused, going forward. I will leave you with a short, yes, somewhat contextually lacking, video on an interesting thought experiment, produced by a podcaster who has affected my thought as much as any that I’ve come across – Brett Vienotte of the School Sucks podcast:

      • Hey Andrew,

        First, regarding the School Sucks video:

        You’ll notice that there is never a distinction between public and private, when the author considers “government”. While the video was witty, the logic was circular.

        What we have now is the privately owned version of government. The video does not talk about the very private, very individual, very voluntary, almost AnCap oligarchy who is wielding the government. I encourage you to keep an eye out on many of these “blame the government” type messages and stories. They very often will omit the criminal owners and puppeteers. They want you to believe that the philosophy of collectivism is the actual cause – the enemy – the ultimate evil – yes, working together and sharing property is the root of all evil.

        Now, to your question about how corporations could be powerful without government:

        The one thing that I have not heard/read Tom explain is, even if corporations can exist without gov’t, how, without the tool of forced taxation, would they ever become as powerful as they currently are. There is no way, without coercive taxation (a ‘tool’ of gov’t) that Walmart could fund a military force to enable them to achieve their current status. We clearly do have a “privatized” gov’t but why is this not the obvious end-result OF gov’t? One can point to no time in history where the arc of a gov’t does not move this direction.

        Again, try to consider that government is a natural part of existence. It occurs naturally in all relationships. Then consider whether or not the government is public or private, meaning, is the mission of the government to profit for individuals who “own” it, or is the mission “Liberty and Justice for All”?

        Do you not think that Bill Gates, for instance, will not have a private army to protect his wealth? He already does. What about the countless corporations who use private merc’s to assassinate union organizers all over the world? What about the private army, numbering almost 100,000 currently in Iraq? Do you not think they know how to run a protection racket, without our government doing it for them? All you’re doing is taking away what little regulation we have and hoping for a government-less society, which, in my understanding, is an oxymoron. This is all a mental trick, using circular logic, omitting real private criminal oligarchs (who I think may be funding the liberty movement – makes sense to me) .

        What we need is to accept the responsibility that public government is difficult and requires constant work and an informed public. First, I think we need to answer the simplest question I can boil it down to: Is liberty a public interest?

        PS – In the Free Market Religion, what is the value of Snowden’s leaks? I would answer that we cannot value something that is so obviously in the public interest. That’s why I wouldn’t give the pimps a pass for “making a living” off of this important information.

        • Xicha,

          “The video does not talk about the very private, very individual, very voluntary, almost AnCap oligarchy who is wielding the government.”

          This seems to be the fundamental fallacy of your thoughts on this. There’s nothing circular about it. Why do the oligarchs NEED to ‘wield the gov’t’? There is nothing even remotely related to the economics of the AnCaps that you can currently point to in the U.S. This is the point. It is NOT (I may not know how to use the forum effectively. I’m using caps because I don’t know how to get italics) voluntary or individual. I don’t volunteer my money to go to subsidizing big business. The gov’t forces me to do that.

          “They want you to believe that the philosophy of collectivism is the actual cause – the enemy – the ultimate evil – yes, working together and sharing property is the root of all evil.”

          I’m not sure where you are getting your information from. Who says that working together and sharing property is the root of all evil?

          “Do you not think that Bill Gates, for instance, will not have a private army to protect his wealth? ”

          Does Bill Gates become a billionaire without the gov’t enforcement of intellecutal property rights? No, of course, is the answer. So no, Bill Gates would not have an army.

          “What about the private army, numbering almost 100,000 currently in Iraq?”

          Where do you believe that the contracts supporting the “private army” in Iraq, come from? Your pocket, that’s where. If Sears came to you and demanded that you give them money so they could go over seas and create ecoside amongst poor, brown foreigners, would you give it to them? Of course not. But the gov’t can and will, force you to part with your labor. You never answered the quote from me that you used:

          “…if corporations can exist without gov’t, how, without the tool of forced taxation, would they ever become as powerful as they currently are.”

          Where does the money come from, in order to pay weapons manufacturers? Who’s courts does Monsanto sue me in when THEIR seeds contaminate my property? Why is U.S. grown corn cheaper in Mexico than their own corn? There is a common denominator in all of these questions.

          “In the Free Market Religion, what is the value of Snowden’s leaks? I would answer that we cannot value something that is so obviously in the public interest.”

          I’m not sure I understand the point about Snowden’s leaks. They pertain to an all-powerful government institution – government. And again, with regard to the fallacy that a “Free Market” exists, unfortunately there is no opportunity to know this, as a free market, is currently nowhere in to be seen.

          I do completely agree that liberty and freedom require heavy and difficult amounts of responsibility. A quality that government schooling is doing a marvelous job of eroding. And why wouldn’t it? There’s no better group of clients than ones who are dependent upon your “services”. There is no way for people to organize in any way that is beneficial to themselves, if those people are incapable of being response-able.

          I don’t have all the answers by any stretch and I truly do believe that with the mention of responsibility, you’ve begun striking at the roots of the problem. Most likely the system flaws are convoluted between gov’t and big business. However, I have not yet heard a good explanation as to how oligarchs even come to reality without the use of gov’t coercion.

          Btw, is there an option for thread tools somewhere? I’m curious how you put the ‘block’ around my text that you quoted, as well as emboldened some of your own text?

          • Hi Andrew,

            Thanks for the response. I’ll write more later, but wanted to quickly thank you for the invite and let you know that the comment text box accepts some hymn tags. blockquote is good for quoting someone as it indents the text. Also b for bold or strong should work too. I for italics. If you’re not familiar already, surround your text with the tags. The one before in and the one after in

          • My tag brackets in the last sentence disappeared. Google hemp for reference if needed.

          • Jeez my phone is automatically correcting me. I meant html, not hymn or hemp. 🙂

          • “The video does not talk about the very private, very individual, very voluntary, almost AnCap oligarchy who is wielding the government.”

            This seems to be the fundamental fallacy of your thoughts on this. There’s nothing circular about it. Why do the oligarchs NEED to ‘wield the gov’t’? There is nothing even remotely related to the economics of the AnCaps that you can currently point to in the U.S. This is the point. It is NOT (I may not know how to use the forum effectively. I’m using caps because I don’t know how to get italics) voluntary or individual. I don’t volunteer my money to go to subsidizing big business. The gov’t forces me to do that.

            By this, I meant that the oligarchs are living the dream of the AnCaps. They are not accountable to any government and they probably enter into their dealings voluntarily.

            “They want you to believe that the philosophy of collectivism is the actual cause – the enemy – the ultimate evil – yes, working together and sharing property is the root of all evil.”

            I’m not sure where you are getting your information from. Who says that working together and sharing property is the root of all evil?

            I recommend continuing to listen for the fingers consistently pointed at collectivism. Shared ownership, the Commons, the “Nanny State” (I really hate this one, after growing up in government housing and standing in line for government cheese. I must have missed the nanny.)

            Individual property ownership is the be-all end-all for the (self-identified) “AnCaps”. There will be no public lands. No public spaces. No public infrastructure. No public.

            [Bill Gates/Private Armies/Taxation used to pay for them, etc.]

            “…if corporations can exist without gov’t, how, without the tool of forced taxation, would they ever become as powerful as they currently are.”

            Where does the money come from, in order to pay weapons manufacturers? Who’s courts does Monsanto sue me in when THEIR seeds contaminate my property? Why is U.S. grown corn cheaper in Mexico than their own corn? There is a common denominator in all of these questions.

            I guess my only answer to your quoted question was “Do you not think they know how to run a protection racket, without our government doing it for them?”

            I’m arguing against the premise of your question, because I am not framing this discussion as government vs no-government, which I think is irrational/illogical. I’m framing it as public vs private, because I think that government is a natural fact, a part of every society.

            If you need examples of private taxation, then look to the mafia, gangs, motorcycle clubs, corporations, insurance companies etc. In that way, yes the School Sucks video makes sense. Oligarchs are running this government like a mafia. And this is what happens when we don’t have a government with a public interest, a public mission of liberty and justice for the public, being run by an informed public.

            My base question about whether or not liberty is a public interest is meant to deal with this framing change. I think that the non-agression principal can only be applied in the context of a society who holds liberty as a public interest, not an individual property ownership base interest. This is the real point of difference , where the rubber meets the road.

            “In the Free Market Religion, what is the value of Snowden’s leaks? I would answer that we cannot value something that is so obviously in the public interest.”

            I’m not sure I understand the point about Snowden’s leaks. They pertain to an all-powerful government institution – government. And again, with regard to the fallacy that a “Free Market” exists, unfortunately there is no opportunity to know this, as a free market, is currently nowhere in to be seen.

            In Free Market philosophy, I understand that everything can effectively be assigned some monetary value. Maybe I misunderstand this, but I have heard some (self-identified) AnCaps mention the fact that they are torn in this recent debate between Sibel and Greenwald, because they think that it’s okay for Greenwald to make a living with his journalism. I sense that they feel strongly about this line, when they say it, because of their individualistic and market god filters. They don’t want to believe in the public interest of turning over these documents to the public without a monetary transaction, because that would go against the grain of their individual property ownership guidelines. That’s what I am interpreting/sensing/comprehending, though maybe it’s subtle.

            Thanks for continuing this discussion, Andrew. I definitely appreciate being able to work through my thoughts about this and develop my communication about my perspective. I also want to keep an open mind and am interested in changing it for the better, as I come to new and better understandings.

  19. Hard to decide who’s less enlightening, libertarians or their critics in this clip. I’d say, plague on them both and call it a day.

    • netter, I think you just took the gold in that contest.

    • netter said: “Hard to decide who’s less enlightening, libertarians or their critics in this clip. I’d say, plague on them both and call it a day.”

      Xicha, is that kind of what you had in mind when you mentioned: “Something so pretentious, arrogant, you name it – smarmy is one word that comes to mind.” ?

      Probably not since netter is most likely on “your team”, eh? It’s unfortunate that philosophical discussions boil down to inane one-liners. Oh well, I guess civility isn’t really important on the internet. Drive-by responses take a lot less effort.

      • I thought netter’s comment was the least enlightening of all. And, yes, I have noticed a little condescending grrr in netter’s comments before. I never got the team rosters, but we’re all in this together, right? Plus, text is much easier on the ears.

  20. Xicha, btw, I sent you an invite for T&H, if you’re still interested. I suppose you’d just head to the members section and search for Tom and head to whichever discussions sound interesting.

    • Actually, I don’t see the message. Not sure if it was a straight email, from you to me, or using the T&H website to send it, which might mean the invite goes through some process before being sent to me. I checked my junk mail to be sure. Please let me know if it was a direct email and maybe try sending another test message, if so. If it was a T&H website service, then I’ll just wait and see. Thanks!

  21. I’m just going to put it here and assume that Richard won’t mind. I don’t know why he would – more traffic and all.

    http://tragedyandhope.ning.com/?xgi=4EdlUbiacwY6xg

    This should give you a ‘trial membership’, which just means you have access to most of the site. I don’t actually believe there is a point at which you will be forced to pay or leave.

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