Is libertarianism anything more than a rich man’s way of getting out of taxes?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

It isn’t even that. Most rich people have ways to get around paying all the taxes that other people want them to pay. Now, many of the super-wealthy like talking about increasing tax rates, and how “the rich” should pay more in taxes, though rarely do they freely contribute extra funds to tax revenue pool. Few of the very rich support libertarian program. Indeed, the very wealthy can often be counted on to push regulatory schemes and wealth transfers that somehow benefit themselves at the expense of other (often less successful) business people, and which libertarians generally oppose. It is an open secret. The business class is not libertarian. While small businessmen tend to lean conservative and libertarian, big business is a very corporatist culture, and most political billionaires support Democrats in America.

Concentrating on one or two or three anomalies amounts to a psy-op, a way of leveraging availability bias among a population of envious news consumers.

The question itself shows a prejudice about liberty that is unknowing; it is evidence of a bizarre set of assumptions that have little to do with reality and much more to do with the fantasies of statist ideology.

Libertarianism is the promotion of liberty as the most peaceful and cooperative form of justice. Liberty is the freedom that can be had by all. It is where coercion is limited to defensive purposes. It limits coercion universally — and equally — disallowing the initiation of force as a means of establishing policy as well as for private gain. The State is an institution that marshals initiated force for the benefit of some at the expense of others, usually with much ballyhoo purporting that all are being benefitted. It runs like a scam. Its most ardent proponents operate as con artists. Most are True Believers — but among the very wealthy exist elite cadres who knowingly promote b.s. political theory to gain the upper hand. To gain private or sectoral advantage. The assumption that the libertarian idea is purveyed by the rich as a class to get a lighter tax load is preposterous: factually untrue and resting on a failed understanding of actual classes of people.

Oh, and liberty is about a lot more than opposition to taxes. As should be obvious from the above.

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N.B. In the above answer I assumed that by ”the rich” the querist meant what Bernie Sanders calls ”the top one percent.” But an important point, often made by libertarians in such conversations, is that in America, today, even the poor are rich by world-historic standards. And this fact puts several important wrinkles to questions like this. But not this question specifically. The answer to ”Is libertarianism anything more than a rich man’s way of getting out of taxes?” remains the same, even if we stipulate that we are all rich: It isn’t even that.

What do you find the most annoying about other libertarians/the movement in general?

…as answered on Quota….

Most annoying? The common assumption that the movement is ready to offer solutions for the world at large. The movement is still in its infancy — well, toddler status. And so libertarians are not yet ready to “govern” a mere devolution of power, much less “take over” any major government.

At best, libertarians might be able to stake out one area — say, New Hampshire — and build a freer society.

But consider: libertarians have barely explored the idea of putting failed states — and most states are failing — through a kind of formal bankruptcy. The idea of putting governments under receivership is rarely talked about. Instead, you have think tankers arguing about what the capital gains tax rate should be, or activists urging folks to “vote Libertarian.” Talk about unimaginative, as bold as a soggy dishrag.

Libertarians have a lot of good ideas, don’t get me wrong. But libertarians have not sorted them through very well, and most do not really comprehend how illiberal, “unlibertarian,” our social world is. Most people do not have a hankering for freedom. Not a strong hankering, anyway. They are insecure, fearful, frustrated, confused, envious, greedy, resentful, dogmatic — all things libertarians tend not to be (except for the dogmatic charge). And libertarians don’t really know what to do with these people. Libertarians are about 5% of the American population, and the “libertarian-leaning” make up at most about a fifth of the population. Everyone else is a statist or outright criminal. So, what can they do?

Libertarians need to take this challenge more seriously.

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Dinesh D’Souza has a new documentary out called 2000 Mules. It alleges to prove what many of us has suspected: massive vote fraud in the 2020 election by the Democrats.

It must surely be watched.

Those of us who suspected massive vote fraud had a number of reasons, the most obvious being: a tight cadre of leftists in America who believed that TRUMP IS HITLER allowed this belief to justify illegality in voting to secure “Hitler’s” overthrow. After all, TRUMP’S HITLER! The motive? Obvious; the excuse was lying there on the surface. The opportunity? Well, Americans’ unwillingness to talk rationally about election security meant that they probably could get away with it — and the lack of security in American voting systems has been well known for decades, and was exacerbated by the pandemic over-reaction. So of course the Democratic Party’s loose conspiracy of centrists leveraged gullible leftists’ belief to steal an election. To regain a latch on power.

And the vote counts were awfully suspicious. Tales abounded. But good data?

Well, a frustrating element of the case for election fraud quickly came to dominate all discussion of the election. Immediately, the Consensus threw its weight around . . . to throw out evidence and not consider reasonable cases on grounds that always seemed, to me, quite suspicious themselves. Over and over this scenario played out: A plausible case is put forward for election fraud in a voting district or at a ballot counting center only to immediately be said not to be definitive, and thus not worth further investigation — or even much reported upon.

The demand was always for hard proof, but the method of consideration appeared, to me, always to deny that such proof could be found, so not worth pushing.

A loftily high standard was allowed to strangle each investigation at or before birth.

The case for Democratic electoral fraud was regarded as by definition Trumpian and therefore Evil.

And it sure looks like hard proof, which is, indeed, what we want, was precisely what was being prevented from being presented.

But hard proof looks like what D’Souza is showing in his movie. It behooves us to watch it.

Seek it out:

Indeed, we should watch it despite the fact that D’Souza used numerals instead of spelling out the number in his title, as would be proper. When you start a sentence with a number, spell it out. That’s the rule: no numerals in such cases. And this applies to titles, too. After all, it is, technically, Nineteen Eighty-Four as the title of Orwell’s novel (see the original publication), not 1984.

Apt example, since it is Democrats who are hell-bent on setting up a 1984-ish political order — in no small part because they’ve allowed themselves to be programmed by CIA-controlled news media propagandists. And a stolen election is a “good start.”

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Iris Murdoch published 26 novels during her life. In my late teens, based on a notice in a Britannica yearbook, I read Bruno’s Dream. I was very impressed, and went on to read book after book of hers, including several of her works of philosophy. I would have been more impressed with her work had her politics leaned less left, but her novels were great nevertheless. She became my favorite comic novelist/novelist of ideas, though she denied writing the latter — despite her status as a moral philosopher in the Weil/Anscombe tradition. Her goal was to provide “something for everyone” in her literary efforts. She certainly provided a lot for me.

I have read 19 of her novels, and a few — such as A Word Child, Time of the Angels, and A Severed Head — I’ve read multiple times.

Her mature work, from Bruno’s Dream (1969) onward, falls into two categories: first-person novels with unreliable — or merely overwhelmed — narrators, and vast third-person novels featuring multiple characters.

The early works of hers that I recommend most are Under the Net (1954), The Bell (1958), A Severed Head (1961), and, most of all, the breezy The Nice and the Good (1968).

Of the third-person monsters, I most urgently advise reading An Accidental Man (1971) and The Green Knight (1987).

The first-person novels are the most challenging, and perhaps most rewarding.

The Black Prince (1973) is her refraction of Vladimir Nabokov’s brilliant and controversial Lolita (1955). Her narrator is a pretentious loser, but his actions are so extreme that one must follow him. At least he falls in love not with a prepubescent girl (as did Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert) but an older teenager. His inamorata is not a happenstance stranger, either; instead, she is the daughter of his best friend, who is also his literary rival whom he envies deeply. A great and vexing novel.

If one determines love of a book by how many times one reads it, then A Word Child (1975) is my favorite Murdoch book: I may have read it four times, once per decade. The narrator cannot make good decisions. His compulsion to repeat his biggest personal tragedy is riveting and quite funny. It is time for a fifth and more careful reading.

The Sea, The Sea (a prizewinner from 1978) may be her best work. It tells the tale of an old actor who retires to live by the sea only to discover that his great lost love lives in a nearby village. So of course he kidnaps her! Comedy and tragedy ensue. And a sea monster. This one packs a wallop.

I am not even aware of Iris Murdoch writing any short stories — I have not read any. Her philosophical work is a mixed bag. I read and enjoyed her The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists (1977) soon after it first came out, and I have also read a number of her most important essays. But I do not fall into her camp of theorizing about ethics — I am closer to Spencer and Santayana. Nevertheless, her philosophical work is both historically and dialectically important. Like Anscombe and Weill, she opposed the meta-ethical turn of British moral philosophy, and her criticisms of that tradition are mostly on point, except to the extent that she misses the point. The meta-ethicians of the emotivist-prescriptivist school were trying to confront the reality of the origins of ethics in utility; their grave errors were in not drawing all the vital connections from this relativistic foundation to a full and substantive ethical understanding.

Alas, she may be most well-known for suffering from Alzheimer’s at the end of her life. There was a movie. It’s good, but nothing like her novels, really.

If I live long enough, I will read the seven novels of hers I have so far neglected. I will probably start with The Message to the Planet (1989), which I may have avoided because I suspected it could not possibly live up to its science-fictional title.

I believe that Murdoch is the writer who took George Meredith’s method and made it high art. Her books are better than Meredith’s, for the most part, mainly by controlling her need to “riff” off of the action and characters. She let her characters have independence from her control and her personal perspectives. She did not “editorialize.”

One of the main themes in her work is the problem of predatory and domineering egoism. (Meredith explains his take on egoism in his famous and worthwhile 1877 An Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit and in the preface to his 1879 novel The Egoist.) This antagonism to egoism puts her in fascinating contrast to Ayn Rand, a novelist more popular with my friends. Rand infamously celebrated a kind of “a new concept of egoism.” Years ago, after reading Barbara Branden’s The Passion of Ayn Rand (1987) and while reading the opening pages of Nathaniel Branden’s Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand (1989), it became clear to me that Rand herself was a figure out of a Murdoch comedy — an enchanter figure — as was the much-younger Nathaniel, whom she made her lover. Indeed, I do not think the whole “egoism” thing of Rand’s “Objectivism” can be fully understood until one recasts the whole silly drama as if from the mind of Iris Murdoch.

I have known enchanter-egoists. But then I have known enchanter altruists, too. The worst sort of people on the planet are enchanter-egoists who pretend to be savior-altruists, but that is not, alas, a theme that Murdoch explored seriously. Rand could have, had she not been broken in spirit by Nathaniel Branden.

But I read Rand too late in my life — after reading Murdoch, actually — so I had been immunized against the kind of traps set by the worst sorts of enchanters.

I mention all this not merely to round out my reading notes, but also to indicate, if clumsily, that one can indeed learn important truths from literature. Moral lessons. You just cannot stop thinking. You have to read between the lines and think between the books. And figure out that both egoism and altruism can be poisonous to the virtuous life . . . to what Murdoch expressed no hesitancy in calling The Good.

twv

The pristine date-of-publication order that I try to establish in my library here obviously failed.

I like cryptocurrency (especially Bitcoin) as a hedge. Trouble is, crypto definitely does not serve as a hedge against the inevitable global electromagnetic storm. It is the opposite of a hedge.

To something inevitable but unpredictable in time.

While electromagnetic pulse warfare and even old-fashioned nuclear war could be as devastating — and similar in effect — as a coronal mass ejection such as the one that caused the 1859 Carrington Event, these conflict scenarios are limited by MAD. Solar flares are not so limited. They are not under any human control at all.

Given this, and given blockchain’s huge redundancy aspects (involving astounding energy consumption and economic costs), I’m not exactly gung ho on crypto.

But I’m completely negative about blockchain’s usage as inside money by the globalized banking system. Politicians’, bureaucrats’, bankers’, and the Davos Men’s lust for a completely digital currency must be opposed at all costs. Their much-ballyhooed move to get rid of cash is an End Times Scenario — it would spell the death knell for freedom, sure, but it would also rigidify the system and make civilization even more fragile than it is now . . . from the inevitable disaster of a major coronal mass ejection hitting the planet.

The fact that this is almost never mentioned during discussions of computerized money strikes me as insane. Our civilization revolves around electromagnetic technology. We are utterly dependent upon this, even more than on fossil fuels. And this must be factored in to our assessments of risk.

People sometimes look at me condescendingly, for my presumptuousness in taking on “the experts.” Well, call me a crank; no matter: for on this issue, I’m not wrong.

My number one policy aim is antifragility. Always has been — long before Taleb gave it its name. And post-modern politics is utterly oblivious to the notion, despite the popular buzzword ”sustainability.”

One of our political considerations must always be concern for ”external hits” to our ecosystem and socio-economic system. Right now, we have progressed our way into a predicament. Further progress must not jeopardize civilization to an even greater degree. And right now both the globalist totalitarians and the “ancap” libertarians seem hell-bent on pushing just such ”progress.”

twv

I see lots of expressions on Twitter of Twitterers’ “feelings” about Elon Musk acquiring Twitter.

This is funny. But aside from mirth, I don’t have a lot of “feelings” about the change. I mainly have a number of questions.

Though I do indeed regard anyone who supports curated, censored political, medical, and “scientific” speech as an enemy of liberal civilization (which I’m for), I may have moved past anger on this subject. And Musk himself has so many ties to the Deep State, I am left with so many questions. Lots and lots of questions.

Here’s one: Elon, you’ve made billions by contracting with Never A Straight Answer (NASA) and the Pentagon — how do your buddies in the Deep State feel about your professed ”free speech” agenda?

Are there factions within the Deep State now at war with each other, and you’re on one side?

As an advocate of connecting brains directly to AI, how would free speech operate in a cyborg environment?

What security can there be against AI with (shall we say) less-than-transparent agendas and abilities?

So, no hosannas from me about our political savior, St. Elon. But I’ll be very glad to see woke corporatists cast out on their asses, as Twitter moves to better policies and ceases to serve as the butt boy to Klaus Schwab, Hillary Clinton, and their puppeteers.

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Winnie the Pooh is a (fictional) female bear. “Winnie,” after all, is a feminine name.

Humpty Dumpty is not an egg in the original (satirical) verse.

The United States is not a nation. They constitute a political union, and even the Constitution makes this quite clear. Of course, nationalists — like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln — pushed ”national” union, but their pushes are wishes, not truth. These United States contain many nations, and those nations are becoming increasingly froward and prone to disunion.

It is quite possible to make associations that belie original intention and even reality. Most people think of Winnie the Pooh as a silly boy bear, Humpty Dumpty as a broken shell of an eggman, and the U.S. as a nation. Most people are wrong.

But in the realm of myth, error’s easy.

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Though the ”Don’t Say Gay” political brouhaha in Florida is a serious matter, I confess to finding much of it rather funny. Why? One-word answer? Grooming.

So much for Twitter and the comedy. But what about the serious issue regarding the ”groomer” charge? Well, you can always count on Mr. David French for the loopiest quasi-conservative take:

You may not be aware, but right-wing media is swarming with allegations that anyone who, for example, opposes Florida’s House Bill 1557 (the bill misleadingly termed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats and many in the media) is either a “groomer” or in league with groomers. A groomer is a person who specifically targets and uses “manipulative behaviors” to gain access to victims. The rhetoric is absolutely omnipresentIt’s relentless.

David French, ”Against the ‘Groomer’ Smear” (Substack, April 5, 2022).

I’ve never liked the term “groomers,” which I first heard in the Pakistani/Brit context of Rotherham. Edward ”Jolly Heretic” Dutton used it in his book on the Finnish experience with Muslim men turning teenage Finnish girls into their whores. I had sort of got used to it by that point, but never completely. 

What we are dealing with appear to me to be two semi-distinct things:

1. The training of youngsters into a state of sexual willingness to fiddle around, sexually, sans parental chaperones and with a variety of partners some of whom might be adults, and

2. the training of youngsters into states of sexual willingness to specific sets of adult clientele.

The latter would be ‘grooming’ proper; the former, a looser form of ‘grooming.’ 

Interestingly, all instruction of youngsters into sexual relations — including No Sex Acts Until Married — is a kind of grooming. Note the word ‘groom’ as in ‘bride and groom.’

It seems to me that parents should want to control this kind of instruction more closely than they would on matters of, say, learning math or literature. And surely only the most servile fool of a parent would welcome paid agents of the state to encourage their youngsters to develop active sexual behavior before puberty, or orient themselves sexually towards adults rather than a special compeer of the opposite sex.

So I do not see any major problem using the term ‘grooming’ in the looser sense. Sure, grooming has been understood as the activity of training children to become sexually active with specific adults. But the more general activity, of training kids to be more generally accepting of specific adult panderings, propositions, flirtations and the like. Think of it like the normal case for schooling: while job training is usually used as a quite specific term for educating students to perform in a specific job, the usual instruction in schools is widely understood to be a more general form of a job training program — job training not for a specific job or industry but for ‘jobs and industry’ in general.

Sex education in First World countries seems to have become, to a shocking degree, a program of job training in that looser sense: educating youngsters to accept sexual partners and sexual positions that would formerly have been called perversions.

Sex education started out as a ”family planning” agenda — excused to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases — but morphed within recent memory to “gay acceptance,” and not only encompasses the encouragement not merely of something that hardly needs encouragement (namely masturbation) but also ‘trans gender’ sexual apery, all based on the half-baked pseudo-science of ‘gender theory.’

I am now a strong advocate for positive heteronormativity, and believe non-heterosexual people should be on board with this position too. Sure, I’m against negative heteronormativity. But my backing of positive heteronormativity has indeed been reinforced by my fear that the recent Norming of the Queer is going to produce a new reaction in the form of a strong, society-wide negative heteronormativity — that is, the kind of norming of heterosexuality that entails the persecution of homosexuals and bisexuals and the sexually weirder — queerer — yet.

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What the Dementia Patient in Chief calls “the liberal world order” is unstable (I know it; you know it; we all know it) and our elites urgently want to move to a much-ballyhooed “New World Order” where there is much less freedom and no privacy. They want a well-oiled machine where The People are subject to massive controls.

This is also what both political parties have been working towards — the phrase “The New World Order” (NWO) was introduced to us by a former CIA head who somehow became the U.S. President on no merit whatsoever — but is now a decidedly Democrat goal.

It really is a class-based notion, as Alex Gutentag’s “The Great Reset Is Real” makes clear. The power-wielding/power-seeking class in question, which might as well be called the “cognitive elite,” made a near-united push for the NWO during the insane response to the recent pandemic and is now rapidly switching gears. But its goal is clearer now than ever. And the means of new controls on the general population can be seen in every emergency order and accommodation by major corporations:

As the idea of a “Great Reset” continues to be dismissed as a conspiracy theory, governments, central banks, and NGOs are becoming ever-more explicit about their plans. Any new supposed emergency can be manipulated by financial institutions to initiate systems of total control. Once fully realized, these systems may be impossible to combat.

For my part, I merely suggest we consider reviving older technology, something already tested on the elites:

How is the Libertarian Party different from the Democratic Party in America?

…as answered on Quora….

The Democratic Party is the oldest organized political faction in the United States. It has been wildly successful.

The Libertarian Party is the oldest minor party in the country to have maintained an active and culturally significant presence on the margins of politics. By major party standards, it has been wildly unsuccessful, but by minor party standards, it has been bizarrely persistent. On the face of it, it is a testament to a segment of Americans desperately trying to bear witness to the possibility that freedom, and not “equality” or “security” or “nationalism,” might matter most.

Yet, ideologically, the Libertarian Party has some fascinating historical links with early Democratic Party ideology.

Libertarians sport more similarities to the ideas of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Clubs than to the nationalist ideas of the so-called Federalists. Libertarians are anti-nationalist, free-trade, limited-government activists, not Big Bank-supporting, big-business-subsidizing protectionists in the manner of the mercantilist Alexander Hamilton, the chief theorist of the early Federalist Party.

In the 1830s, an anti-establishment faction grew out of the Democratic Party, greatly influencing (if for a brief time) the Jacksonians. The faction was active in many northern states, especially in New York where its activists, led by newspaper editorialist William Leggett, set up a minor party, the Equal Rights Party. While the party was short-lived, the movement was quite influential, and a challenge to the establishment. In a memorable incident where these “workingmen” partisans attempted to gain control of the New York Democratic Party, the establishment turned off the lights to prevent the political change. Yes, deplatforming, 1830s-style. The Equal Rights activists who had gathered en masse were not to be dissuaded, though. They struck their matches — a new self-igniting device sold as the “Loco-Foco” — and lit their candles and carried on with the election of officers decidedly not in line with the insiders of Tammany.

The New York Times mocked them, called them “Loco-Focos.” The monicker stuck. And for a brief time — the time in which Alexis de Tocqueville was poking around in the States — the Loco-Focos dominated political discussion. Ultimately, they mainly affected corporate law, taking away the overtly political and favoritist aspect to gaining corporate status, but also had a huge impact in Rhode Island and a few other states. Nevertheless, their general anti-government stance was not appreciated by ambitious men. And then when they moved to abolitionism, they were successfully marginalized forever.

Modern libertarians are indeed echoes of that Loco-Foco Moment, as Brian Doherty mentioned in his book on the modern libertarian movement’s most successful politician, Dr. Ron Paul:

The particular combination of beliefs that animates Paul and his fans has not been prominent on the American scene since the Locofocos. You don’t remember them, but they were the New York–based, radically laissez-faire wing of the Jacksonian Democrat coalition during the President Martin Van Buren era of the 1830s–’40s. Like Paul, for them, the separation of government from banking was their primary goal (as well as the elimination of non-hard money). But aspects of Paul and Paulism appear and reappear across our nation’s history, like ghosts haunting the battlefield where the American dream has been slaughtered in slow motion since shortly after it was born.

Though modern libertarians may find some commonality in 19th century leaders like Van Buren and Grover Cleveland, they see little of value in the party from the racist, progressivist warmonger Woodrow Wilson onwards. The modern Democratic Party has utterly betrayed its Jeffersonian and Loco-Foco roots. Most of the current crop of the Democracy’s presidential contenders are pimping for socialism, of all things, which to a libertarian appears just as bad (or even worse) than imperialistKu Kluxer, or Nazi.

William Leggett, chief theorist of the Locofocos.

Brian Doherty, Ron Paul’s rEVOLution (2012)

Brion McClanahan, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America (2017), with a foreword by Ron Paul

Anthony Comegna, “The Loco-Foco Movement: A Lost Chapter in the History of Liberalism, Part One” (2016)

Thomas C. Leonard, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era (2016)