David R. Henderson  

Walter Block on Capitalism

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Walter writes:

I readily admit that "capitalism" has a bad press, and its historical use is none too salutary either. But, the enemies of libertarianism are always trying to take words away from us. They have already long ago stolen "liberal." We must now call ourselves "classical liberals" if we want to use that appellation at all. Some have recently had the audacity to try to take away the word "libertarian."
He goes on:
One final point. If we libertarians "refuse to use the word 'capitalism' to describe what we favor," what, then, can we make of the phrase "laissez faire capitalism"? Based on the interpretation of the Libertarians Against Capitalism, this phrase would have to be considered a logical contradiction, like "square circle." For, in their view, "capitalism" is a synonym for "crony capitalism."
Me: What Walter said.

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CATEGORIES: Economic Philosophy



COMMENTS (37 to date)
ray l love writes:

It is possible that I know too little about Libertarian positions to speak out here, but, from afar it seems thus: Libertarians advocate free market policies that favor the employers at the expense of the employees. Maybe not overtly, but for example they seem tacit in regards to ag subsidies and other labor market oversupply factors, and to the undermining of collective bargaining efforts that benefit the working-class, all of which require market or policy manipulations, but not much said regarding 'these' types of interference.

So, am I wrong? Do Libertarians only prefer market 'freedoms' that benefit their ilk?

I could get behind a movement that stands for fairness based on rewarding contributions according to honest negotiations between all concerned. That movement though would not quietly tolerate corrupt bankers earning hundreds or thousands of times more than what others do, others who in many cases make a more integral contribution to society. Historically though, free market advocates and exploitive types tend to travel in the same circles; and, I suspect that our reaction to this dubious connection, is causing poorly aligned incentives to allow unintended consequences to have far too much influence in worldly affairs. Could it be that Hoover had it right? "The only thing wrong with Capitalism is the Capitalists". Could Libertarianism be the answer... if its intentions were genuine and based on fairness?

Josh Weil writes:

"So, am I wrong? Do Libertarians only prefer market 'freedoms' that benefit their ilk?"

Yes, you are wrong. There are plenty of texts that clearly explain libertarian positions. I recommend Free to Choose by Milton Friedman or the Joy of Freedom by the author of this blog post.

"Historically though, free market advocates and exploitive types tend to travel in the same circles"

When I think exploitive around the world I think thieves or agressors, and the vast majority of those types are related to corrupt governments.

Daniel Klein writes:

Two remarks:

1. I think capitalism a bad word, fundamentally leftist.

2. The jewels of prosperous civilization are the liberal lexicon. The subversion that Block alludes to goes far beyond liberal. During the social-democratic reaction 1880-1940 a whole web of semantics become confused. The important words include: Liberty, freedom, property, contract, justice, equality, equity, and rule of law. Rights also fits in, but I take a very broad view when it comes to that term. So it's not just liberal.

ray l love writes:

Josh ~ "When I think exploitive around the world I think thieves or agressors, and the vast majority of those types are related to corrupt governments."

The USA though, especially when under the leadership of 'free market' advocates, has done nearly everything possible to ensure that "thieves or aggressors" have maintained or gained control' in countless nations, and this is especially true as 'national interests' appreciate in value. The USA has of course 700+ military bases in 140 countries, 17 intelligence agencies, and the Left speaks out against this 'manipulating', but those who advocate 'free markets' seem to be compliant and even encouraging when it comes to manipulating foreign markets and resources.

The US collects as much in tariffs from Guatemala as it does from the much wealthier New Zealand, as much from Angola as from Belgium. But I have never come across any complaints from the free market side about these types of market ploys. Nor do I know of any instances of concern for tariff escalation policies and these are clearly manipulative. The developed nations net 3 times as much from tariffs as they provide in development aid too, but never have I seen any free market advocate mention anything along these lines. I presume that free market theory must include trade considerations, 'comparative advantage' etc., but subjects such as these seem suspiciously absent.

kevin writes:

Yes, Ray, libertarians are against tariffs. Yes all tariffs. Yes libertarians are against overseas occupations. You seem to be confusing conservatives who pay lip service to free markets with libertarians. Pay better attention.

Matt writes:

Hmm, would make sense if we didn't steal the word libertarian as well. And of course the phrase "laissez faire capitalism" would be a contradiction, just drop the word capitalism. We have been trying to champion the word capitalism for 75 years, all it has given us is association with totalitarian non Marxist dictators, and viewed as the extreme right of the republican party. We don't need the word Capitalism to describe our beliefs, and we don't need to try and convince 99% of the world our definition of capitalism is the correct one.

ray l love writes:

kevin,

Perhaps if you did not represent your Libertarian views with the same lack of respect for others that is so common with Conservatives, the distinctions between you and them would not be so difficult. Then too, the lack of any supporting evidence, or the attitude that just saying whatever suits your needs is enough, is another reason for confusion. If you were to support your claims now and then, provide a link or something. I have the January-February issue of 'Liberty' magazine so perhaps you could refer me to an article that shows that I have not been paying "attention".

It is odd though how few of us are able to separate away the pretenders, although without being offensive that is what my initial comment suggested, so thanks for helping out in that regard. But if there were a genuine difference between Libertarians and Conservatives in something other than empty rhetoric, I sincerely would like to see it.

And if guilt by association were such a problem why not end the association, a better time for that is unlikely to come around anytime soon. Or is just such an effort underway but once again I am simply not paying attention? I do only read about 8 hours a day and I have only been involved with worker's rights issues for about 36 years so maybe I missed something?

Steve S writes:

Ray - Liberty Magazine is a religious magazine concerned with the separation of church and state. It is not about libertarian economics at all. The following is their Declaration of Principles

* The God-given right of religious liberty is best exercised when church and state are separate.
* Government is God’s agency to protect individual rights and to conduct civil affairs; in exercising these responsibilities, officials are entitled to respect and cooperation.
* Religious liberty entails freedom of conscience: to worship or not to worship; to profess, practice and promulgate religious beliefs or to change them. In exercising these rights, however, one must respect the equivalent rights of all others.
* Attempts to unite church and state are opposed to the interests of each, subversive of human rights and potentially persecuting in character; to oppose union, lawfully and honorably, is not only the citizen’s duty but the essence of the Golden Rule–to treat others as one wishes to be treated.

Ray - get a grip

Douglass Holmes writes:

Ray, I have read libertarian literature for many years and have not heard any support for ag subsidies or tariffs.
You say that you could get behind a movement that stands for fairness based on rewarding contributions according to honest negotiations between all concerned. I'm pretty sure most libertarians would agree with that. What they might not agree with is judging which economic arrangements are fair or not fair. That is best left to the parties doing the negotiating.

I don't think it is fair that people will pay more attention to Susan Sarandon or Oprah Winfrey than to me. However, I don't advocate a system of speech regulation to ensure that we have "fair" speech. I prefer "free" speech. And I prefer a "free" market to a "fair" market.

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

Capital-ISM

Is really NOT an "Ism." Its operation has no social or political objectives; though its operation requires certain social and political conditions, and varies with those.

Thus, it cannot be defined, but can be described:

It is an economic system for the making of choices in the allocations of goods and services within a Civil Society.

Most "Libertarianism" is skepticism of constructed limitations on freedoms, and hence favors the choice system provided by capitalism.

R Richard Schweitzer writes:

There is always F A Hayek's "Why I Am Not a Conservative" for those serious in learning of some "philosophical" distinctions.

Others might want to go as far back as a reading of "The Politics" -Aristotle. Not my cuppa tea, but has authoritative appeal to many.

kevin writes:

Ray: you plainly haven't actually tried to learn the opinions of libertarians.

Start with the Libertarian party platform. It's a good starting place for folks like you still trying to learn the very basics of libertarian philosophy.

Also, Libertarian (with capitalized "L" refers to a political party. The word "libertarianism" refers to the general philosophical position.

ray l love writes:

Steve S,

The 'Liberty' magazine I am looking at says this inside the cover:

"'Liberty' is the leading forum for writers like David Friedman, Thomas Szasz, David Boaz, Stephan Cox, Dave Kopel, Jane Shaw, David Beito, Gary Jason, Doug Casey...the most exciting libertarian writers..."

The first article listed is entitled: "A Libertarian and a Comedian Walk Into A Bar".

So maybe you do not think this magazine is up to libertarian standards but the folks involved with its publication certainly do. The thing is though, this magazine is beside the point. I only used it to make a point about the need to support assertions. Which of course is still lacking. There is however an article in that same magazine called: "How Liberty Helps the Poor" "(For Capitalism to thrive, Russel Hasan argues, libertarians must do a better job of reaching the working poor)". So there you go, I not only provided some substantiation but also an example of what has been missing so far. But that is well short of showing any substantive difference between libertarians and conservatives.

So far as I know it comes down to whether a group believes in giving or keeping. 'Liberal', according to Merriam-Webster, relates to being 'generous' and 'tolerant'. 'Conserve', means to keep from losing or wasting. So considering that libertarians seem to consistently side with the Republicans I do not see how they could have any claim on the word 'liberal'. Not to suggest that I think the Democrats are any more generous but they may be more tolerant. I know all that I need to about Democrats though, but I am still curious about libertarians which is why I am here, and why I bought 'Liberty' magazine. But I suppose I am beginning to "get a grip". Libertarians are mostly just confused about where they stand?

Mike writes:

So who are these "libertarians" who advocate tariffs or farm subsidies?

ray l love writes:

Mike,

No mention has been made about any Libertarians advocating subsidies or tariffs. I said this:

Libertarians advocate free market policies that favor the employers at the expense of the employees. Maybe not overtly, but for example they seem tacit in regards to ag subsidies and other labor market oversupply factors, and to the undermining of collective bargaining efforts that benefit the working-class, all of which require market or policy manipulations, but not much said regarding 'these' types of interference.

By "tacit" and "not much said" I meant to suggest that Libertarians have been complicit with Conservatives by their absence of dissent.

Nick writes:

@ray l love

you seem to be intentionally obtuse.

James writes:

Ray:

The beliefs you attribute to libertarians are as bad as you suggest. But libertarians don't actually hold the beliefs you attribute to them. Think about it: do you want your opinion of libertarianism to be based on an incorrect understanding of what libertarians actually believe?

If you are just personally unwilling to read enough libertarian material to see that libertarians don't actually hold the beliefs you attribute to them, that's a fact about you. It has no bearing on what libertarians actually believe.

ray l love writes:

James,

I read the Libertarian platform and I am not attributing anything "to them". I am instead questioning whether they 'act' in accordance with what they claim to believe.


Nick,

What is obtuse about asking for evidence that Libertarians actually do anything to separate their positions from those of Conservatives/Republicans?

magilson writes:

ray | love,

Let's begin by addressing your initial assertion directly:

"Libertarians advocate free market policies that favor the employers at the expense of the employees. Maybe not overtly, but for example they seem tacit in regards to ag subsidies and other labor market oversupply factors, and to the undermining of collective bargaining efforts that benefit the working-class, all of which require market or policy manipulations, but not much said regarding 'these' types of interference."

You use a capital "L" when referring to these policies. I'll admit I have never come across a Libertarian Party member who did what you describe. Please provide specific examples which we can discuss more meaningfully. I must at this point assume, though I prefer not to, however the course of on-line conversation allows these kinds of things to expedite understanding, that when you say tacit you mean that by not specifically doing anything about those issues they are a core value or of little or no concern. With this same logic one can only assume then that you believe progressives believe, through Democratic Party inaction, war and indefinite imprisonment without possibility of legal examination are justified, necessary, and right. I know this is nonsense. I think you do too. I hope this clarifies why so many perceive your assertion as nonsense when you make the same accusation of libertarians.

Because I think we do agree about this point, your next assertion that Libertarians or libertarians are complacent with Conservative policies and therefore are responsible for them is also nonsense. I'm not sure when you began your own personal examination of libertarians, but I suggest you open nearly any article at Mises.org. Feel free to examine older, archived articles written during the Presidency of George W. Bush. I think you'll find you are quite incorrect.

I must then end with your last and only possible (good) defense of this claim you've made. That a social order is only as good as it's collectively achieved action i.e. libertarians can only be trusted as far as their chosen representatives can be thrown. Unfortunately, while I do agree this understanding meets with the organized efforts of conservatives and progressives alike given their aspirations for power but actually achieving it, the basic tenant of libertarianism being an aversion to force makes the reality of a ruling Libertarian Party extremely unlikely and in all honesty a very unappealing one to me personally. Since I can only speak for myself, I will be the first to say I have no interest in manipulating your life even if I thought surely it was in your best interest. Of course I offer advice to my friends. But as for the rest of you (all) I can only wish you the best of luck. What I'm getting at is that an organized group of people who really just want to leave you alone and be left alone is very unlikely to begin that process by rolling stones up hills...

ray l love writes:

It just seems that the best way to distance libertarianism from "crony capitalism" is to do just that. But not via "appellation" adjustments, but instead, by way of actually making a stand where significant differences exist. Tariff and subsidy issues would be an obvious area of contention; and so it would seem that if libertarians do in fact deserve a less dubious reputation than what 'capitalist' implies, then some evidence of that needs to exist showing actual efforts to affect reforms. A Preamble is meaningless without action and effort that elicits some compromise from those of differing or opposing views. And perhaps libertarians have had some such influence over Republicans but if so I am unaware of any such efforts in regards to subsidies and tariffs. Moreover, the Republicans rely on the support of the Libertarians and so if differences do exist there should be some evidence of a compromise between these two aligned but differing groups. If any meaningful differences do in fact exist there should be some signs of a struggle, especially considering how far short of 'free markets' the realties actually are in regards to tariffs and subsidies over the past few decades.

magilson writes:

ray l love,

I get your point. But I honestly don't care to prove anything to anyone about my conviction to my principles. If you think Libertarians are just Republicans who don't want to take the bad rap that's fine by me. I just don't see the evidence of it. Of course, as a libertarian I've come across many Republicans who think I'm just a progressive who doesn't want to own up to my degradation of society. Again, I can't seem to work up the need to care. I can spend my days telling people that their ideas about capitalism is wrong. Likewise the Libertarian Party can bring forward counter-"intuitive" arguments about capitalism and "back it up" by fighting against tariffs and subsidies. Oh what a joy that series of idiotic ad campaigns would be. Or I can just endeavor to pay into a broken system as little as I possible can. That's a heck of a lot more effort than lobbying someone else in some foreign marble building is.

But in reasserting your need to see this evidence you've simply side-stepped owning up to everything I said in my first reply to your original assertion.

As a gesture of my love of free and private contract I offer a promise to research the evidence you need to find peace with the Libertarians if you promise to address pretty much anything I had said.

ray l love writes:

magilson,

I wrote the previous comment before reading yours.

I don't need any explanation from you, I get it. Libertarianism is about talk and folly. I have been visiting libertarian sites and what I have noticed most is the absence of support for claims and a lack of conviction. There seems to be a commonly held view that tariffs and subsidies are counter-productive but related posts are seemingly non-existent. Too much uphill rock rolling I suppose, easier to stay superior through detachment. Why make a dedicated contribution when "Or I can just endeavor to pay into a broken system as little as I possible can."

It is ludicrous to accuse me of side-stepping 'anything' when I asked only for a link or some shred of evidence many, many commenters ago and the nearest thing offered was your claim of "archived articles written during the Presidency of George W. Bush." Which hardly shows any evidence of serious effort insofar as political will is concerned. As far as I am concerned my point stands and I have had all of the nonsense I can handle for today. Save your gesture for someone who is more easily impressed, someone unaccustomed to sites where references are commonplace. No links on this thread?

magilson writes:

ray l love,

What a fascinating way to argue against a lack of evidence by making claims with a lack of evidence. I'll remember to step up my game!

I'll admit it's difficult to develop evidence of mainstream effort to tear down these harmful ideas that perpetuate as common understanding. In order to be taken seriously and get elected one must show reasons why one should be taken seriously. I'm sure you see the irony. However I'm also sure you've already checked into the existing elected officials on the LP website and further examined their actions. Otherwise I might have reason to believe you're simply being obtuse.

I do apologize that no one has yet stepped up as your personal librarian. I understand research can be quite tiresome and difficult when it's easier just to create caricatures. Best of luck in your future endeavors to marginalize!

Mike writes:

So eveery libertarian agrees that ag subsidies and tariffs are wrong. Cato, CEI, Mises, etc. do countless opinion pieces decrying them and studies showing their pernicous effects. And that is somehow "tacit" approval? Right.

Randy writes:

The problem with "capitalism" is that all the capital is denominated in fiat currency. It is thus inextricably linked to poltical behavior*. I much prefer the term "free markets", which necessarily incorporates free market currency.

The problem is that the idea of free market currency takes the philosophy deeply into the ideological - that is, the improbable. But hey, what good is a philosophy without ideology? The real world is run by socio-capitalists. What's needed is a philosophy to counter their power.


*Ever heard the term "political capital"? Well, in a sytem of entitlement, political capital is as real as any other form of capital. In fact, replace "capital" with "entitlement" in any real world application and discover that the chosen phrase still makes perfect sense.

Les Cargill writes:

First: tarriffs and farm subsidies. Maybe. Dependent on intitial conditions, they may actually make sense. This is a problem of local versus global minima/maxima. I don't have a complete understanding of how the "bond sales to the Chinese" story ends, but if the deficits are a threat to the feasibility of our nation, tariffs could be less bad than default. Unfortunately, I cannot dismiss out of hand Krugman's allegations of mercantilism. I don't know enough to fully say. I would say that a good analysis of the endgame of this is in order. It is not without historical context; see also "The Boxer Rebellion" for something like this in reverse.

Farm subsidies are unsettling, but we seem to have a peace with most of 'em. Obviously, the sugar markets are very bad, but the reduction of price risk seems not to have slowed the increase in utility over time.

So what is to be done? There are acres of shibboleths that are simply incorrect. The "robber barons", the canonization of Lincoln, the unreal story of Manifest Destiny all serve to weaken people's understanding of what really happened. I've actually seen efforts to improve this, but these myths persist.

Second: explain to people that even top-down things like the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights act were not simply cases where fiat made the sun shine - that it took thousands of dedicated, risk-taking professionals in local arenas to prosecute those fights in a manner very much like how markets work. They simply out-competed the racists on their own turf. This is a very beautiful, spontaneous-order story.

I say "the canonization of Lincoln" is problematic because the true, human story is so much more breathtakingly rich. He is literally viewed now as an Abarahamic figure which is patently unfair to both his memory and how it is used. Ken Burns actually did more good than harm with his "Civil War", if for no other reason than making Shelby Foote a household name.

But I think a full-on assault on Hearst is most in order. There's a good book, "The Chief" that takes him completely apart. If the Left wants to poke Fox in the eye, this might be a place to start - though PBS.

Sheldon Richman writes:

My response to Walter is here:

http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2010/03/block-says-yes-to-capitalism.html

[tinyurl replaced with target url at sheldonfreeassociation. Please do not use tinyurls or other short forms of urls on EconLog or EconTalk. Use of tinyurls or other short forms of urls in comments will cause those comments to be held up by our spam filters. We are not so space constrained that you can't type a complete URL. We want our readers to know where they are going when they click links.--Econlib Ed.]

jstaples writes:

The issue at stake here is not crony capitalism vs. socialism vs. some other "fair" system controlled by a strong central government. These systems all end with the same result.

The issue here is personal liberty vs. state control. Whenever a state gains too much power, the end result is tyranny. Sometimes that tyranny manifests itself as a military dictator or a king. Sometimes it appears as an overbearing beauracracy. In the case of the United States, it has manifested itself as control by bankers and a few mega corporations.

History has shown that the cause and result are ALWAYS the same. Any system that advocates "fairness" through regulation by a central government is bound to result in tyranny.

The bankers and mega-corporations in today's world didn't come into existence through a lack of regulation. They came into existence precisely BECAUSE OF regulation. They were able to capture control of a government that has the power to pick winners and losers, a government that has the power to regulate out the little guys and rescue the big guys, a government that has the power to take property from one person and give it to another, in essence, a government that has the power to enforce tyranny.

Tyranny is always the end result of centralized power. Sadly, that seems to be human nature. The proper check and balance to that is not putting the power in the hands of better people, it is limiting that power all together.

While personal liberty and limited government as an answer to tyranny was somewhat popular two centuries ago (see the US Constitution), it is now only seriously considered by a small but growing fringe who call themselves libertarians.

If you know of another group that holds these views, I would like to know because they sure aren't making themselves heard.

David writes:

Prominent people like Noam Chomsky in all seriousness declare themselves to be libertarian socialists. My reply to them is what is that? Is it a libertarian that believes in big government?

It is a perfect example of Orwellian double speak to hold two contrarian ideas at the same time. Libertarian socialism makes as much sense a "free market communism."

Matt writes:

Ray I love,
If libertarians agree that subsidies are bad, and we provided links to libertarian works, why didn't you just type in the word subsidies in the search buttons.
http://find.cato.org/search?q=subsidies&btnG.x=0&btnG.y=0&btnG=Search&site=cato_all&client=cato-org&filter=p&lr=lang_en&output=xml_no_dtd&proxystylesheet=cato-org&proxyreload=1&getfields=summary

http://search.mises.org/search?q=subsidies&site=default_collection

http://search.mises.org/search?q=tariffs&site=default_collection

What exactly do you want to see to show the libertarians want to end subsidies and tariffs? Tons of articles and a very commonly held view, isn't enough to convince you that we hate tariffs?

Loof writes:

According to David:
Prominent people like Noam Chomsky in all seriousness declare themselves to be libertarian socialists. My reply to them is what is that? Is it a libertarian that believes in big government?

This “libertarian” case is a typical Americanism: Walter Block leads and David follows. The source is French. In 1857 Joseph Dejacque, a French anarchist with a socialist bent, first used the term “libertaire” to go round the ban on anarchist publications. This appears as Chomsky’s source for “libertarian socialists”. The aim of libertarian socialists is to create a society free of coercive hierarchies. The main means is societal decentralization through direct democracy - the opposite of centralized goverance and ever bigger government.

The “liberal” case is another self-serving Americanism implied by Block saying: “They have already long ago stolen 'liberal'." Don’t know who “they” are, but “liberal” is definitely of European origin: an Enlightenment concept of someone believing in liberty and equality derived from Locke. This is in opposition to the American right wing view linking liberalism to centralized government. The word “liberalism” first appeared in English in 1815 and was central to liberal capitalism, not liberal government.
Ref: Hartz, Louis (1955) The liberal tradition in America.

Doc Merlin writes:

"The aim of libertarian socialists is to create a society free of coercive hierarchies. The main means is societal decentralization through direct democracy - the opposite of centralized goverance and ever bigger government."

The opposite of centralized governance isn't direct democracy. It is no one telling you what to do by using force.

Bill Drissel writes:

Don't say "classical liberal," say "liberal with a small 'r'". Answering the quizzical looks, you explain.

Don't say "capitalism", say "freedom". In response, you explain, "'capitalism', 'free market', 'market economy' are names we give to the economic activities of free people."

Yeah, they've taken "liberal", but they now regard that as an insult so they're fleeing to "progressive." Pretty soon they'll give that a bad name as well.

Regards,
Bill Drissel

Loof writes:

According to Doc Merlin:
The opposite of centralized governance isn't direct democracy. It is no one telling you what to do by using force.

The opposite of centralized governance isn’t direct governance in itself. Libertarian socialists believe it is the “main means” through which coercive society is avoided. Moreover, coercion as a concept is not just the practice of directly forcing someone’s behavior, it also occurs through indirect influence and trickery: primarily state propaganda.

Example: The Lisu (a tribe of about 60 clans and over a million people) lives in mountain villages of India, Thailand, Burma, Laos and China. They have strong traditions of direct democracy. And, while paternalistic democracy dominates there’s a lot of maternal democratic influence too. The decision to create another village (after populations exceeds 200 on average, I estimate) appears more influenced by the consensus of woman in choosing sites: as the gathering and growing economic activities are pre-dominantly female i believe.

The point is, though, with nation-state boundaries the Lisu are physically divided by the threats and force of different central governments. While different societal states are persistent these people generally ignore the boundaries imposed, which aren’t enforceable in the mountain terrain. More influential is the coercive trickery, the propaganda and influence of state schools increasingly established in the villages.

The central government of Thailand is particularly good at developing this sort of schooling. I once asked a Lisu headman (through a translator) what he thought of the Thai people. He expressed admiration and said: “The Lisu are culturally poor; the Thai are rich: they’ve a king!” Ironically, in my many years of wandering the world I’ve never experience a more culturally enriched, decentralized, democratic people - and the women are as beautiful as they are wonderful.

Nick writes:

@ray l love

you are being obtuse by making a 'no true scotsman' type of argument. people have refuted your claims but you continue to make the assertion that the evidence provided by others, do not represent the view of most libertarians. this is ridiculous the LP party does not represent mainstream libertarians, but liberty magazine does?

you seem to be just cherry picking arbitrary parameters to fit your biases

John V writes:

Ray,

"I meant to suggest that Libertarians have been complicit with Conservatives by their absence of dissent."

Really?

Have you actually researched any of the topics you claim libertarians to be tacit about??

Go to Cato and read from their vast reservoir of policy papers that say exactly what you say doesn't exist.

Actually, why even go that far? Just google the words libertarian and agricultural subsidies or whatever it is that you aren't making an effort to look for.

Here is the result of the aforementioned words on a quick google search:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&rlz=1G1SNNTCENUS357&ei=Z6emS8vDHsTflgf-1LjMCA&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&ved=0CAUQBSgA&q=libertarian+agricultural+subsidies&spell=1

Wow. that was easy.

As others have accurately stated in their own way, you seem more interested in stating what you want to believe than what you would actually find if you cared to look.

Tracy W writes:

Ray: The USA though, especially when under the leadership of 'free market' advocates, has done nearly everything possible to ensure that "thieves or aggressors" have maintained or gained control' in countless nations, and this is especially true as 'national interests' appreciate in value.

An interesting claim. How do you square it with Freedomhouse take, where the number of countries it rates as free have risen from 44 at the start in the 1970s, to 89 today, and partially free from 38 to 62, and not-free has fallen, from 69 to 42? (A lot of countries got added with the collapse of Communism). See http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/fiw09/CompHistData/CountryStatus&RatingsOverview1973-2009.pdf.

Perhaps when you sat the USA "has done nearly everything possible..." what you mean is that the USA failed to exclude all the really effective things. Or perhaps you think the American government in reality is very ineffective at ensuring that thieves or aggressors have maintained or gained control, and just did to the best of its effectiveness? Also, I am interested in your dataset behind the claim that "this is especially true as 'national interests' appreciate in value".

As for your questions about libertarians opposing tariffs and farming subsidies, see http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5999

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