Re: Am I stupid for being a Libertarian?

Erik Moeller (
Sun, 09 Mar 1997 22:57:50 +0100

John K Clark wrote:

> >If government works correctly, you don't work for the state but the
> >state works for you.

> If I'm the boss and the state works for me then I should be able to fire the
> state whenever I want to. Unfortunately I can not, because I am not the boss
> and the state won't let me quit.

Not you are the boss. The population of the country is the boss. If everyone decides
that they don't want the state anymore, the state can be "fired".

> >I *do* agree that this is often not the case today.

> On of the great understatements of all time.

Nope. In many cases the state does quite good work. But all these cases are more and
more "privatized", leaving the state as a vampire who takes much from the many and
few from the few, while doing few for the many and much for the few.

> >The problem is that government is too corrupt and influenced
>(usually even set up) by economy.

> True, but that's not because we were just unlucky and elected the wrong
> politicians, it's inherent in the system. Suppose I want to make $10,000,
> there are two ways to go about it. I can work to repeal hundreds of special
> interest laws, each one costing me a few dollars, or I can lobby for the
> passage of one more special interest law that will give me and my friends
> $10,000 and cost everybody else a dollar or two. The second method makes much
> more sense, it's far easier to pass one law than to repeal hundreds .
> This sort of lobbying won't work in the free market. If I want an executive
> at GM to be promoted to a position of greater power there is only one thing
> I can do to help that come about, purchase the product that the executive has
> been advocating. Bribery will help the executive's bank account but it will
> not help his chances for advancement, it will hurt it because his boss will
> note that his decisions have been poor and do not made economic sense.
> The stockholders will note the same thing.

Which essentially means: If the decisions the customers make are right, the right
people will have the power (although monopolies will form) and the right products
will be produced. The problem is that the customers' decisions are usually not for
the best product available but for the product most advertised.

I agree that the "government bug" is inherent. There are ways to change it, though.
In order to do it, we need more state, not less, and better information for those who
influence the state.

Look at Japan. Much state influence. Great country. Imagine Japan had started with
free markets after WW II, they'd be like South Korea today.

> >For government does not have a general interest in acting "evil",
> >but big biz has, in order to
> > - sell more

> What on Earth is evil about selling something to somebody who wants to buy it?

Read the sentence. I didn't say that THIS was evil, but the effect is. (No one is
evil in this game, that's why I usually don't use this word.) As a consequence, the
state will be corrupted and thus provide worse services.

> >- pay fewer taxes

> What on Earth is evil about protecting you possessions from theft?

I have nothing against rich people who spend their money in big cars or houses etc.,
the money stays in movement. But it is "evil" (to use *your* words) if companies and
banks invest money in the stock market where it just circulates. This is where the
big money acucmulates. To nearly no one's benefit. The money invested in stock
markets gets to (large) companies again. But these large companies tend to re-invest
the money in stock markets instead of making investments in their company, for the
stock market promises a higher profit! So the money available decreases, few people
get richer and richer but without *using* the money -- only to get richer. And the
amount of CIRCULATING money decreases.

This is why the capitalist system will break down faster if it's liberated.

> >- get rid of competitors
> There are two ways a company could get rid of competitors.

> 1) It could become more efficient than the competition. This would mean that
> the company would be producing a product that individuals chose because
> they liked it better than the alternative. In the name of human freedom
> this horrible state of affairs can not be allowed, the government sees to
> that.

Ah yeah, free decision again. Your catchword.

Free decision is, of course, an illusion. A decision can never be free, for the
decider is influenced by various sources. A buying decision is mainly influenced by
advertising. For to decide which product to buy, the consumer must know

- which products are available (biggest problem)
- which products promise to be best
- why the products are best

Linux has not become a comfortable standard operating system for PCs because most
people don't know about it. But even if Linux was told about in all larger computer
magazines (impossible because Microsoft's influence is there, too), most people would
buy Microsoft because of its better advertising.

Advertising manipulates. Manipulation of all kind is much easier in free markets.

Everything would be fine if all information would be accessible AND centralized in
one archive (for why should the average user ever visit a Linux website?). But this
is not the case with the web, and even the web would probably not be preserved in
free markets for economic reasons. Don't forget that the really large net capacities
are owned by the state.

There are lots of different companies, but the largest of them are owned by very few
investment banks. There's your competition -- it's a fake.

> 2) The proper way to deal with a competitor who makes a product that is
> better and cheaper than yours is to use your "clout" to lobby the
> government to regulate your industry. I can't emphasize enough that
> purpose of this regulation is only to increase individual freedom, and of
> course the best way to do that is to have government agents use force or
> the threat of force to stop anyone from making a product superior to mine.
> What better way is there to promote free competition?

No one has an interest in making superior products in free markets except for moral
reasons, for

- investments in stock markets promise the highest profit to large companies
- simply killing other companies with force is much cheaper, and if you
control the media, no one will learn about it

> >anarchies are not workable
> Who runs the Internet? Does the internet work? Who decided on what the rules
> of English should be, and what government agency enforces it? Does English
> work?

Who runs my trousers? Do my trousers work? Who runs me? Do I work? Am I an anarchy?
Philosophical questions..

Is English or the internet a geographical area where people live together?

Let's take a deeper look at the net.
Most of it is dull entertainment and worthless information. The newest web browser
with Live3d plugin or Java for spying your computer, the latest sex page,
advertising, advertising, advertising, private homepages containing useless
information about strange people.

Then there's mail and news, continually being spammed, the more serious newsgroups
being flooded by nazis and other scum. Of all services, these two are most useful.
IRC - usually nonsense talk, everybody is surprised if a serious discussion results.

Even in the web it becomes obvious how large companies try to crush users who publish
unwanted information, even in the entertainment area. Without laws, companies will be
able to do that much easier.

Anyway, the internet works. Sure. As long as no serious things are done there,
everything is fine. As soon as big money circulates, goodbye net.

> >There is no free market or real competition, just a search for the
> >highest profit rates.

> I fail to see the distinction. If you're making a ton of money then yours
> must be a great business to be in. I'm going to get in too, and I'm going to
> do my best to make an even higher profit rate than you do.

The distinction is that the real money is controlled by monopolies, the investment
banks I mentioned.

> >those who do the hardest physical work (workers in factories,
> >farmers etc.) usually get the fewest money in capitalist systems

> Yes, brute strength is the very easiest thing to automate. If a surgeon was
> going to cut me open and then put me back together again, I would hope he
> could demand more money for his services than somebody whose only skill was
> the ability to dig a ditch.

If someone sits in a bureau all the time and just signs or rejects given proposals, I
would hope he could demand less money than someone who works all day so hard that he
even carries away physical and psychological damage from it.

> >If companies invest, they do not invest in employees but in what
> >promises the highest profit.
> In other words they pay their employees what they're worth not what they want,
> just what you'd expect from an organization that is not a charity. If I can
> find somebody who can do your job better than you can and is willing to work
> for less, what is wrong with that? Look at it from the other side, suppose
> you found somebody who would pay you twice what you make now for fewer hours
> of work, would there be anything immoral in you quitting your present job?

They don't pay anyone what he/she's worth, but everyone is paid the fewest money
possible. So if someone is paid 2$/hour in one company, he will get only 2$/hour in
the neighbour company (while there IS still competition -- usually there's just
monopolies after a short period in free markets).

I'm not talking about the "better" jobs, the "worthier" jobs. BTW, didn't you
criticize that I valued people? Don't you always get totally upset if I call the
majority of the American population uneducated? But their work is worth less than
yours, so if they do work with which they can't earn a living, are they stupid? Of
course they aren't, for they don't have the choice. Maybe they are uneducated because
of media influence and bad education (much worse in free markets).

I'm talking about the jobs in the industry. The hard work. There's always a high
demand for this work, but a lower and continually decreasing supply. Tell a worker in
Germany that he should quit his job and try to work for more money. The reaction
would be funny. For if you quit a work where the supply is higher than the demand, no
one will pay you more if there are thousands of unemployed people willing to work
at minimum wages. Ah, I forgot, in free markets, there ARE no minimum wages.

But no matter what you call it, the effect would be that more and more people would
fall into poverty and more and more people would get very, very rich. 360 people
owning 50 % of the world's wealth. That's market control *today*. Do you think that
one of these 360 guys (I think that most of them *are* guys, that's market
emancipation) is able to spend even 1 per cent of his/her money?

> >Lots of people pay and few get the money. In the end, there's mass
> >poverty, hunger and a few very, very rich (but usually not very
> >clever) guys.

> Let me see if I have this straight: The problem with the world is that there
> are too many greedy people and you want more money. Most are too materialist
> and you want more material things. The poor want a more affluent lifestyle,
> the rich have figured out a way to obtain it, but the poor are more
> intelligent. Is that about it? Have I missed anything?

Yeah. The wealth must be spread. The point is that nobody should possess more than he
or she is able to spend, as otherwise the wealth will be no longer wealth but only
money, and it will accumulate with no function.

> >Capitalism is the true pyramid system.

> If that's the way you feel about it then the solution is obvious, don't be a
> capitalist. I really don't see what your problem is.

There are no realizable alternatives, so the only way to make it is to make the
pyramid as big as possible in order to reach transcension before the collapse. But if
the market is liberated, the collapse will come faster, and billions of people would
have to die of the effects of hunger. Explanation: The collapse would lead to a
feudal system like that of the Middle Ages. Foreign trade would be impossible but is
absolutely necessary in our society.

> >I only see one motivation that drives all Libertarians. It's not
> >the desire for freedom or the desire for justice. It's pure greed.
> >Oh yeah, and in some cases it's stupidity.

> Oh, now I see. You think you're morally superior to us and are far more
> intelligent.

No. I don't know if you, John Clark, are greedy. I don't think that I'm more
intelligent than you. But I know that you don't have the knowledge necessary to
decide whether free markets are a useful thing or not, and I *think* that I do. You
can prove the opposite any time, but so far I haven't heard any working argument from

>From reading some of the posts, I think that the core of the Libertarian movement is
greedy, but believes in its own ideology.

> You think we're too stupid to make decisions for ourselves and
> for our own good you must do it for us. You'll make us become socialists
> whether we want to or not. Erik, can you see why such a policy might cause
> some resentment in your subjects?

I already said it, free decision is an illusion.
I'm not talking about intelligence, but about education, a difference you seem to be
unable to make. The less you know, the higher is the probability that your decision
will be wrong.

> As for your other insults, I am not ashamed of my opinions, if I didn't think
> freedom and justice were good things I would not lie about it, I would just
> say so. You will note that I have not said so. If what you say about "all"
> Libertarians is true then almost everybody on this list is an unjust freedom
> hating greedy moron who lies about their motivation. Why do you even talk to
> us?

Freedom and justice are good things. The problem is that free markets make people
unfree and the world unjust. The problem is further that freedom of markets is
usually directly transferred to freedom of the individual. The other problem is that
freedom and coercion are not clearly defined and that usually only state pressure is
considered as coercion.

The main problem is: Libertarians don't think enough. Like religous fanatics or
fascists (NO, I'M NOT TRYING TO RELATE YOU TO THESE PEOPLE! But you will probably
still tell me that I do...) they manage not to think about certain things. Barriers
in the brain. You will unconsciously leave out certain parts of this message when you
answer it (if you do). Parts you don't [want to] understand.

And one thing I especially dislike: the tone of your answer. You grabbed one single
word of my posting and included it in the subject. What I said in my original posting
was: "If someone is not greedy and a Libertarian, he/she must be stupid" [meaning he
doesn't know better]. But don't you always say that greed (using a different
phrase like desire for self-realization or sth. similar) is perfectly OK and
_everyone_ should be greedy?

As for my other insults, I haven't insulted anyone anyhwere. But maybe you'd prefer
if I wouldn't say directly what I think? Sorry, that's a wish I can't fulfill.

Erik Moeller