what is liberty? (was Re: Gingrich, Moynihan step down)

Timothy Bates (tbates@bunyip.bhs.mq.edu.au)
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 11:00:10 +1100

Josh Glasstetter, <jag36@cornell.edu>, asked:

>> I'm really confused as to what extropians mean by libertarianism.
Hal replied
>No doubt it means different things to different people. I would prefer
>to call the philosophy "individualism", the belief that to the maximum
>extent possible, people should be free to make their own individual
>decisions about how they live their lives.

Well. That really hedges the bet. the phrase "maximum extent possible" is the question. Everybody, Marxists included, could agree with that phrase, they merely define maximum and possible quite differently.

>since businesses are composed of people working together in a common
>enterprise, that their individual rights to make decisions do not vanish.
Yes. That is the essential difference between the state and a company: the company is is embedded in a capital market so its share holders can sell up and move. No such (liquid) market exists, yet, for states. I can't come to the USA and if I relinquish my New Zealand citizenship (not intended BTW), I don't get a severance pay-out of 1 3-millionth of the net asset backing of NZ. American's can't even move without summary de-righting.

Josh continues,
>> We will repeal five times as many laws as we pass.

Now that is a good rule of thumb for a few years!

>> End all corporate welfare. Let allegedly free-enterprise stand on its
>> own two feet.

That is a critical point. I made a similar proposition to the liberty-based ACT party in New Zealand <www.act.co.NZ> but no reply as yet. The critical point for maintaining popular support is deregulating the law, health, and professional services unions whose restricitve trade practices drive up the cost and complexity of living for the vast majority (see also the Bell Curve for similar arguments).

>> Legalize most pleasure drugs, prostitution, and gambling.
Hmmm. Change most to all and I am on board. But then what would the police and lawyers do with with no criminal's left to speak of? I predict the end of crime by the year 2020 if crimes must have victims and and victims are free to defend themselves with, for instance, full time multimedia surveillance, including DNA sequestration.

>> Put environmental concerns before profits and jobs. On the other hand, put
>> scientific consensus and reason ahead of emotion-based environmentalism.

How about we start more modestly by eliminating all government "public" property and development subsidies and see just how much environmental ravaging is left when it directly decreases owner equity?

>> Open federally-funded birth control clinics all across the country,
>> guaranteeing women in every locale reasonable access to her legal right
>> to abortion and other forms of birth control.

No. Just let ordinary people like us practice medicine. Women's cooperatives would spring up within months to organizer specialist, low cost training and service provision. Abortion would plummet in price and become ubiquitously available inside a year. The crazy God-squad murderers cannot combat that kind of groundswell.

thanks for the thoughts, josh and Hal,


"Prescription Drugs Kill More Than Street Drugs," Properly prescribed legal drugs killed 106,000 Americans each year, due to toxic reactions. That's more that *twenty times* the number of Americans killed by illegal drugs, estimated at 5,212." New England Journal of Medicine, April 1998.

see also
"Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). April 1998

"The Public and the War On Illicit Drugs," JAMA, March 18, 1998.