When neocons debate libertarians

As mentioned in a previous post of mine, the American libertarian journalist John Stossel filmed a recent edition of his program The STOSSEL Show at the Students for Liberty 2013 International Conference.

For those of you who aren’t able to view the program due to a lack of pay television you can view segments of it on his website.

A part of the program which attracted some social and other media attention was neoconservative journalist Ann Coulter’s appearance, which led to a heated debate with Stossel and the young libertarian students present in the audience. In the midst of the debating fracas, Coulter labeled libertarians “pussies” on matters such as war, drugs and gay marriage.

I find myself in disagreement with Coulter against all three of the issues raised, in the following abbreviated ways:

(i) since I oppose the application of aggressive violence in principle, I therefore oppose the prosecution of aggressive acts of violence made by the state (self-defence is another matter). It should also be acknowledged that war is the health of the state, and a key factor in its historical expansion which has left individuals less free over time, so I’m deeply suspicious of government pleas to send even willing military personnel off to battlegrounds;

(ii) the war on drugs has been a colossal waste of time and money, ruining countless lives (not only for those languishing in prison cells on the basis of victimless crime of personal drug use), so end it by drug legalization; and

(iii) Coulter is right when she says that the state has an interest in undermining family, the basic building block of civil society. But the best way for the state to stop its undermining is to just get out of the way, so, in this context, privatise marriage!

Take a look at the Coulter segment, and express your thoughts about it.

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210 Responses to When neocons debate libertarians

  1. Jarrah

    Very well said, Julie. The recognition of war as a key driver of government expansion is one often lost on conservatives like Coulter.

    Although, in her defence, she called them pussies because she thinks libertarians sometimes focus on those issues because it presents a kinder face to leftists. At one point she said:

    You know, if you were a little more manly you would tell the liberals what your position on employment discrimination is.

  2. C.L.

    …privatise marriage!

    The approximately 12 homosexuals in the country who want to pretend to get married are already free to mock up a ceremony in a park or something. Nobody is stopping them.

  3. JamesK

    The one with John Bolton was pretty good.

  4. Julie Novak

    Hi Jarrah – if libertarians are trying to reach out and attract other people by finding some common touchstone issues, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that.

    Hi CL – exactly! If you read the historical literature on gay/lesbian relationships, you’ll find numerous historical accounts of people getting married, sometimes in very lavish ways, without state approval.

    Honestly, I continue to scratch my head as to why so many modern gays and lesbians are seeking regulatory approval of their relationships from their common historical enemy: the state.

  5. Jim Rose

    Julie, The state developed an interest in regulating marriage because of dead-beat dads shirking their responsibilities to support their children.

    See Doug Allen at http://www.sfu.ca/~allen/state.pdf who argues that state intervention is successful when private enforcement of promises is costly and marriages are relatively homogeneous.

    On marriage as a humanly devised set of constraints, Doug Allen challenges you to describe it to a 19 year old male.
    • Marriage is all about responsibility, monogamy and a painful exit if things go awry.
    • Yes, there is the prospect of children, and mutual support, but only if you sign up to child support obligations, community property rules and many other constraints that are enforceable.

    The role of the state in marriage is all about protecting mothers from opportunistic breach of a long-term contract with sequential performance.

    Mothers produce the children up-front while the fathers support the children over a long period subsequent. The problem is dead-beat dads.

    Marriage exists in every human society. That says something about its social value.

    It took almost 40 years for academics to figure out the effect of no-fault divorce on divorce rates and the feminisation of poverty (not to mention all the other areas of life no-fault divorce influenced).

    Given that same-sex relationships are often made up of two financially independent individuals, there will be litigation and political pressures for even easier divorce laws since the problem of financial dependency will be reduced.

    Alterations in divorce laws to deal with issues of same-sex divorce necessarily apply to heterosexuals, and these new laws may not be optimal for heterosexuals, making marriage a more fragile institution for them.

    Put simply, the second wives club is look for allies in their lobbying against alimony for the first wife.

  6. Julie Novak

    Hi Jim – yep, marriage exists in every human society, and, more importantly, marriage preceded the state. So, privatizing marriage cannot possibly harm it.

  7. Tel

    … privatise marriage …

    It already is private. The state is utterly unable to hold together a marriage between partners who for whatever reason cannot get along, and the state is equally unable to prevent people from getting together if that’s what they have firmly decided for themselves.

    The state merely clings to the registry of marriage as somehow legitimatising their involvement, as if their approval counted for diddly.

    The real issue about marriage is the general recognition of other people’s marriages, but even that is in fact private. No one can insist another person recognize something against their will, and trying to use the force of law to obtain social recognition basically has the exact opposite effect.

  8. Tel

    The role of the state in marriage is all about protecting mothers from opportunistic breach of a long-term contract with sequential performance.

    Cobblers.

    The state will just as happily force a father to pay for a child produced by a one night stand, as it will force a father to pay for a child produced by a long term marriage but the wife just decided to kick him out one day. The so called “contract” is something presumed and implied, often in a retrospective and arbitrary way.

    In short, the state is interested in minimising its own obligations, and nothing more than that.

  9. NoFixedAddress

    (ii) the war on drugs has been a colossal waste of time and money, ruining countless lives (not only for those languishing in prison cells on the basis of victimless crime of personal drug use), so end it by drug legalization

    Does anyone know what it costs us to maintain this particular ‘war’?

  10. Jarrah

    Everyone, marriage discussions should be in the Marriage thread.

  11. stackja

    Honestly, I continue to scratch my head as to why so many modern gays and lesbians are seeking regulatory approval of their relationships from their common historical enemy: the state.

    They are only interested in destroying the existing state. First one piece is destroyed then another. Destroy marriage then the family. Hitler and Stalin made the new order state all powerful. Beware of granting favours to groups who seek to overthrow society. Chemical abuse is stupid. Why make it easier?

  12. JamesK

    The real issue about marriage is the general recognition of other people’s marriages, but even that is in fact private. No one can insist another person recognize something against their will, and trying to use the force of law to obtain social recognition basically has the exact opposite effect.

    That’s nonsensical.

    The opening premise is bang on and everything that follows is gobbledegook.

    People want formal legal recognition of their marriage vows to each other before friends (and God if so acknowledged).

    The legal recognition is meaningful for lotsa practical purposes and it’s what people want.

    Marriage is an institution and began as such with massive societal pressures and expectations on the couple.

    Societies long ago in the institution’s (and society’s) infancy didn’t need a state law for them to be effective.

    They do now – in our huge international if alienating modern society of billions rather than a world of few hundred or a thousand 3 and 4 milleniae ago – not least to protect women’s and children’s rights.

    Saying that the state shouldn’t have a role is simultaneously pie in the sky and head in the sand surrealism.

    It’s a particular characteristic nuttiness of a section of libertarianism that gives libertarianism itself a bad name.

  13. I have posted on this before so forgive me for reposting I forgive you for not understanding the first time, but the state has an interest in marriage because booty is the ultimate commodity and historically is has been kept secure behind a gate, however imperfectly, by religion. It takes centuries for business model like that to fully relinquish power, and as long as we live in a democracy where people who support the church must be persuaded to vote, the state will pretend to give a shit about who marries who.
    But I have also scratched my head wondering why people aren’t happy just getting together with their same-sex lover/animal/piece of furniture and declaiming their everlasting in front of drunken relatives, and the best theory I have come with is this.
    It is a fetishist obsession with the word “marriage”. Yes they know they can be united civilly, and have sex without interference, but they perceive the word “marriage” to be endowed with magical respect-commanding powers and they hate the fact that it is owned by an institution. It seems to me to be just a desperate search for validation, from a demographic that does tend to believe that words have innate powers.
    Marriage is fundamentally about staying together long enough to raise kids (I don’t care what you call any other relationship. No one does really, as long as the only cost of a breakup is material goods.) The more marriage is privatised the better because it is hardly swimming out into a sea of uncaring self-centered hedonists. The community most certainly has an interest in people staying together and raising children otherwise we all get little barbarians pissing on god-damned lawn!
    Agree on aggression and drugs Julie. Carry on.

  14. JamesK, though I eschew labels, I will stand up now and on behalf of Libertarians vigorously dispute the idea that a society of unregulated individuals can’t be trusted to pitch in and somehow manage to

    protect women’s and children’s rights

    “alienating modern society” you say?
    It is with the misanthropist, Marxist fiction like this that statism is fuelled.

  15. Driftforge

    Get rid of the anti discrimination legislation, and marriage ceases to be an issue.

    People can call the sky green, as long as others are allowed to snigger at em.

  16. JamesK

    a society of unregulated individuals can’t be trusted to pitch in and somehow manage to

    protect women’s and children’s rights

    That’s another example of the delusional nuttiness which I alluded to earlier.

    The US alone even if the guy doesn’t own a passport is 320 million and is a continent as are we.

    So what?

    The immediate society of the couple is going to hire a PI and when the runaway husband is located with his new ‘wife’ , they’re gonna send a few heavies around the other side of the planet or continent to force him to give half his wages for the rest of his life to his first ‘wife’ and 2 children?

    Or the husband of the newly married couple in Australia dies in a car crash so the Aussie government sells the contents of the house in his name and proceeds from its sale to his brother back in Iran?

    Tom Sowell describes the limited ‘first stage’ thinking of liberals but it actually applies doubly so to some ‘libertarian’ thought such as this.

    And apparently a society where for example in a friendly lefty city like Melbourne, neighbours in a Collingwood street are unlikely to know each other’s names let alone their business isn’t alienating in the way Collingwood was not even in the 1940′s?

    Seriously – what parallel universe do you hail from Ooh Honey Honey?

    Like I said earlier ‘pie in the sky’ and ‘head in the sand’ simultaneously.

    Jim Rose is a one trick pony and his views on the institution of marriage are narrow but he wasn’t incorrect.

  17. Paul

    I find the growing call to legalize drugs, coinciding as it does with the bankrupting of the American State, to be little more than a cop-out so the load can be taken off expensive law enforcement, and the provision of drugs can become a taxable service. The call had very little traction when there was money around.

  18. JamesK I had trouble following that. But we are from the same planet. It is littered with a variety of complex societies and distorted markets made up of incalculable factors that produce innumerable outcomes. I just think you have been highly selective with these outcomes.
    Not all consequences of a particular policy will be foreseen. But a libertarian will choose, with what extremely little knowledge he or she has at a point in time, a policy that gives the greatest freedom to autonomous individuals seeing to their self interest. Not because it will produce any particular outcomes, but because it is less immoral, inefficient and corrupt than the alternative.
    The alternative, which you seem to represent, is based on the assumption that you do possess enough knowledge and foresight to use the apparatus of the state to control behaviour in the hope that specific outcomes are achieved. This in turn relies on the heavily promoted idea that without the State to do these things chaos will ensue, and this is propped up with lots of rear-guard propaganda that people are inherently evil, leading to every proponent of these ideas (be they religious, marxist or green) secretly rejoicing every time people do bad things, so they can leap up and say “See! You need us to save you from yourselves!”
    On the topic of marriage, I don’t argue that state intervention has necessarily led to terribly bad outcomes (unlike the war on drugs for example) but it is problematic to the point of comedy the idea that governments or the church can take credit for successful marriages in any society. It ain’t the state that makes me care for my wife, or makes my boys good babysitters.

  19. candy

    Legalising drugs makes not much sense. A government would just overtax it and then the scope for the drug dealers is still there as they undercut the market and also sell to underage kids.

    But main thing, drugs are self destruction. Healthy aspiring people can’t co-exist with drug use.

  20. J.H.

    Remove the welfare state, make income tax voluntary and give citizens the right to own guns for self defence(in Australia)…. and I have no problems with the removal of drug laws.

  21. Jim Rose

    julie, the state enforces many long-term contracts because private enforcement is ineffectual.

    In such societies, bride prices and dowries arose to keep the other side honest.

    really expensive engagement rings after 1930 arose after breach of promise suits were abolished.

    the engagement ring is a performance bond for the promise to marry. the jilted bride keeps the ring, confiscating the posted bond.

    Is property in a divorce from a privatised system of marriage to be based on title, the oldest tradition, community property or what? Who is responsible for child support? who resolves these disputes?

  22. In such societies, bride prices and dowries arose to keep the other side honest.

    Long bow drawn.

    Is property in a divorce [...] or what? Who is [...]? who [...]?

    How would we have roads without governments?
    How can we explain stars without priests?

  23. JamesK

    The alternative, which you seem to represent, is based on the assumption that you do possess enough knowledge and foresight to use the apparatus of the state to control behaviour in the hope that specific outcomes are achieved.

    I was clear about what I said and the above quote of yours clearly ain’t it.

    Moreover you’ve not answered the bleedin’ obvious problems I gave some examples of with your wishful thinking.

    In an ideal world we wouldn’t need an army or a police force either.

    The first part of Madison’s famous quote is apposite:

    If men were angels, no government would be necessary.

    But the other aspect apart from commonsense and necessity is the normal every day people want their marriage formalised by the state.

    They know the bleedin’ obvious.

    But even the ones that don’t – a significant enough proportion have thru pain and necessity forced common law recognition and paternity laws in the last 60 years.

    Marriage by your definition is a recipe for chaos and more misery and even further damage to the civil society.

    I’m sad that’s the fact but it’s an obvious truth.

  24. .

    Coulter labeled libertarians “pussies” on matters such as war, drugs and gay marriage.

    1. We were right about the costs of war, and there is no set ideology on war. Not all of us are pacifists.

    2. The conservative attitude about drugs is childish and demands paternalism.

    3. Don’t know how this makes lack strength of character, regardless of what my opinion is on the issue.

    She’s an airhead.

    Tom Sowell describes the limited ‘first stage’ thinking of liberals but it actually applies doubly so to some ‘libertarian’ thought such as this.

    No.

    Stop abusing the work of the great man.

  25. hammygar

    make income tax voluntary

    It already is for most businesses in this country. It’s only the workers who pay taxes because it’s taken out of their pay before they get it.

  26. JamesK

    It already is for most businesses in this country. It’s only the workers who pay taxes because it’s taken out of their pay before they get it.

    Quite right Hamster.

    We few, we happy few, we band of filthy rich industrialists and Liberal pollies at da Cat – all of the same exploitative conspiratorial brotherhood of eevil loathe woookas and their unions

  27. Moreover you’ve not answered the bleedin’ obvious problems I gave some examples of with your wishful thinking.

    How about this: Bad things happen. When the government tries to prevent them from happening, many more bad things happen, and they pay for the spectacle with your money.
    James I don’t “wish” for any particular outcome or result. I am just explaining that Libertarianism makes the freedom of individuals to manage their own affairs a higher moral priority than attempting to fashion a world that fits the preferences (usually a minority) of disinterested parties. It sounds like you are standing up for them: all wishes and no risk. Like the gangsters that have ruled Australia for the past six years.

  28. .

    “Wukkas” James, as in “wot aboot tha wukkas”.

  29. JamesK

    No.

    Stop abusing the work of the great man

    Hi dot.

    Did you scrunch up your face and eyes and then clench your fist at the same time?

  30. .

    No, I bit my leather gloved fist and got out of my wheelchair.

  31. JamesK

    I am just explaining that Libertarianism

    You don’t speak for something called libertarianism.

    If libertarians want limited government and anarchists want none, you’re on the side of anarchy.

    And despite your “usually a minority” bollocks very very few – indeed an infinitesimal minority – agree with your meaninglessness idealisation of what marriage should constitute (ie zip).

  32. Alfonso

    Behold, as Ann touches up another Libert plus audience of trainee Liberts, who want someone else to pay for their ‘freedom’ to choose any outcome…..

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/02/22/epic-ann-coulter-and-john-stossel-duke-it-out/

  33. I think you are running away with a few things there. I don’t consider myself any of the things you mention (“libertarian”, “anarchist” etc). I don’t have an “idealisation of what marriage should constitute”. I simply dispute the assertion that individuals ought not be trusted to manage their own relationships and they need the State to do it for them.
    It’s none of my business how other people decide to be together and raise kids or whatever. You think it is your business. I think you would claim to speak for a majority too. I think you should re-examine your assumptions here.

  34. Jc

    It already is for most businesses in this country. It’s only the workers who pay taxes because it’s taken out of their pay before they get it.

    IF you really feel that way then support consumption instead of income taxes.

  35. Jim Rose

    On a long bow drawn on bride prices and dowries, the role of dowries and bride prices where divorce is easy, such as under Muslim law, is a performance bond.

    Bride price societies tend to be characterised by high female contribution to agriculture and high female economic autonomy.

    The bride-price or engagement ring is a credible signal to the woman that the man will be faithful. It is credible because it lowers the man’s payoff to cheating relative to committing.

    If the man wants to cheat in every relationship he will have to pay the bride-price in every new relationship. If he commits, he only pays the bride-price once.

    In South Asia, groom prices have emerged in the 20th century!

    Three percent of the cultures listed in Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas had dowry payments while 66 percent follow a norm of bride price.

    I watched an excellent documentary about an Iranian divorce court. It is on youtube. The camera was next to the judge, who was very chatty with the camera women.

    One dispute was over a dowry of $10,000 a taxi driver now had to pay because of he had divorced his wife.

    At one stage, her many uncles were discussing going out to find the ex-husband and take direct action. Police often look the other way on these family matters in developing countries.

    All the women litigants were feisty and wanted their dowry enforced by the court.

    HT: http://dept.econ.yorku.ca/~smaitra/SMaitra_IESS.pdf on the economics of dowries and bride prices

  36. Jc

    Actually Coulter touched on a good point. You really do need to dismantle the welfare state before legalizing hard drugs or the whole thing becomes a fucking nightmare.

  37. As in, “on second thoughts, that fits my narrative”.

  38. Jim Rose

    I recommend topdocumentaryfilms.com/divorce-iranian-style/

  39. Jc

    Honestly, I continue to scratch my head as to why so many modern gays and lesbians are seeking regulatory approval of their relationships from their common historical enemy: the state.

    Yea Julie, that thought has also crossed my mind too.

  40. Jim Rose

    You really do need to dismantle the welfare state before legalizing hard drugs

    legalise for whom? adults?

    still leaves the problem of under-age access, but still would break the back of the industry and save mexico and others from narco-wars

  41. Jim Rose

    Honestly, I continue to scratch my head as to why so many modern gays and lesbians are seeking regulatory approval of their relationships from their common historical enemy: the state.

    the switch from leave me alone to let the state regulate the formation and dissolution of my relationships was fast

  42. But I have also scratched my head wondering why people aren’t happy just getting together with their same-sex lover/animal/piece of furniture and declaiming their everlasting in front of drunken relatives

    There are many good answers to your question. In the marriage thread.

  43. Jc

    Jim

    Yes adults. The problem with under age access is with us anyways and no one in Libertarian circles has ever talked about legalizing for children.

  44. wreckage

    1. We were right about the costs of war, and there is no set ideology on war. Not all of us are pacifists.

    OK

    2. The conservative attitude about drugs is childish and demands paternalism.

    A little paternalism now and then is no bad thing. It’s when it extends to the able of mind and body and begins to coerce them that its a problem. I couldn’t back looser drug laws unless the following happened:

    1) Most important. It must be permissible to fire immediately and without recourse someone who you judge to be impaired by a drug.

    2) Leniency for sentencing for impaired judgement due to drug use must be removed, preferably reversed.

    3) Less important. I do not particularly want to bear the sole cost of testing employees. I certainly do not want to face litigation for permitting an employee to work while he or she was under the influence of a perfectly legal substance, particularly if the tell-tales are hard to spot.

    4) Access to given drugs would have to be restricted. Alternatively it must be made legal to beat into a wheelchair someone who sells pot to my kid.

    3. Don’t know how this makes lack strength of character, regardless of what my opinion is on the issue.

  45. candy

    An how do stop a girl who can legally take drugs who then gets pregannt and has baby with retardation.

  46. Alternatively it must be made legal to beat into a wheelchair someone who sells pot to my kid.

    Or doughnuts, am I right? After all, sugar is bad for you.

    How about this: If your kid buys pot, it’s your kid’s fault. Not the person who sold it to them.

  47. An how do stop a girl who can legally take drugs who then gets pregannt and has baby with retardation.

    You mean like foetal alcohol syndrome? Good question.

  48. Mk50 of Brisbane

    As the only Imperialist here, let me say that this thread is an enjoyable read.

    [settles back with a snifter of brandy and some popcorn]

  49. The problem with under age access is with us anyways and no one in Libertarian circles has ever talked about legalizing for children.

    Here. I might be in that circle. And here is my comment:
    A libertarian would protect the right of a parent to wallop the living arse off their own child for taking drugs, if they saw fit. Governments do not currently protect that freedom.

  50. Infidel Tiger

    An how do stop a girl who can legally take drugs who then gets pregannt and has baby with retardation.

    Let’s leave Wayne Swan’s parents out of this.

  51. I don’t see how giving people the right to beat their children is a necessary feature of libertarianism.

  52. Infidel Tiger

    You really do need to dismantle the welfare state before legalizing hard drugs

    Alcohol is pretty widely available so that horse has bolted. And sorry to disappoint our puritan overlords but anyone who is interested in buying and doing drugs is doing it right now.

  53. Anyway, I checked out the marriage thread but gave up after all the abuse. Fisky had JamesK on the run, and Greg’s was the best comment I read.

    On the other hand James, I do acknowledge that we must challenge the long march through the institutions and the family and marriage are certainly institutions that Marxists would like to dissolve so they can be replaced with their ideas. I do get that.
    But the strength of the institution of marriage derives from the biological imperatives of the breeders, not the policies of the state. (That’s why it is one of the best defenses against Marxism.) So that’s why I’m not alarmed at unregulated partnerships.
    Most people are hetero, most blokes want regular sex, most women want a nest full of kids. It is hard to imagine a transaction the negotiation of which may be more safely left to the protagonists.
    And if gays want to play house? Who. Gives. A fuck.

  54. I don’t see how giving people the right to beat their children is a necessary feature of libertarianism.

    Oh well. Give it time.

  55. .

    Behold, as Ann touches up another Libert plus audience of trainee Liberts,

    She’s an airhead Alfonso.

    who want someone else to pay for their ‘freedom’ to choose any outcome…..

    Turns out it’s contagious so I won’t watch that disease vector.

  56. Alfonso

    Alas for Liberts, Ann makes them sound like kept kiddies no matter what their age in years. Dismantle the welfare State to ensure neither Annie nor I are paying for many easily avoided and massively expensive neurosurgical outcomes for the helmetless Harley crowd and then go for your lives punters.

  57. wreckage

    Yobbo, do you fancy addressing anything else I said?

  58. Dismantle the welfare State to ensure neither Annie nor I are paying for many easily avoided and massively expensive neurosurgical outcomes for the helmetless Harley crowd and then go for your lives punters.

    Absolutely. Privatise all risk management. Medical insurance companies will send a very clear market signal to people thinking of taking up smoking or letting their kids ride without helmets.

  59. JamesK

    But the strength of the institution of marriage derives from the biological imperatives of the breeders, not the policies of the state

    Without the state providing legal protections the institution of marriage itself would be in an intolerable position.

    If the Marriage Act were magically removed from the books along with common law protection and paternity laws, there would be riots outside Parliament House to re-instate them within days/weeks.

    Face reality.

    I prefer the smallest government necessary for a civil society.

    Which coincidentally would be the best civil society not least because there would be more implicit demands of the citizenry.

    A tithe of income tax and a tithe of sales tax would be way more than necessary.

    State marriage laws can be ignored by citizens, but ideally common law and paternity laws would be unnecessary.

    Sadly they clearly are necessary.

  60. .

    Dismantle the welfare State to ensure neither Annie nor I are paying for many easily avoided and massively expensive neurosurgical outcomes for the helmetless Harley crowd and then go for your lives punters.

    This is utterly stupid. It presumes the disincentives work, or that the technology works 100%.

    That is of course how the current system works, built in with such assumptions.

    Alfonso has had it explained to him many, many times what libertarianism is about – personal responsibility.

    He has to be brain dead or obsequiously running interference to “not know” otherwise by now.

  61. .

    If the Marriage Act were magically removed from the books along with common law protection and paternity laws, there would be riots outside Parliament House to re-instate them within days/weeks.

    Um yeah sure.

  62. JamesK

    Face reality.

    Conjecture.

    LOL

  63. Medical insurance companies will send a very clear market signal to people thinking of taking up smoking or letting their kids ride without helmets.

    Or leave the kiddies organs to the Insurance Company. They’ll make a profit on the deal reselling them.
    After all, where do transplant organs for kids from?

  64. Rococo Liberal

    Read the great Theodore Dalrymple on the stupidity of those fools who want to end the criminilasition of drugs, and repent your foolish ways.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a1.html

    Only utter wankers and fools think that decriminalising drugs is a good thing. You might as well decriminalise murder, arson, rapae and theft, on the bais that they still occur despite the law banning them.

    In any case, as I never tire of explaining to libertarians (who are usually just marxists who have only half reformed) if the Government decriminalised drugs it would immediately put in place a plethora of new laws to regulate the manufacture, sale and consumption of said drugs. SO the por old liberatians would see more law enforcement than there is ow with even more people in prison. So as the great Steve Harley once sang: “Stuff your ideals up a nothing new”

  65. Chris M

    Libertarians are well meaning but naive, just haven’t got around to considering the issue of consequences yet.

  66. Oh Lord, what a jumble. RocLib, did you watch the Milton Friedman clip? Let’s not get hyperbolic. Please have a look and address specific points he raises.
    Saying that people want them decriminalised because they happen anyway is fallacious. And the reason I think they should be decriminalised is not because I think good things will happen, only that many more bad things are bound to happen when governments try to get involved.

  67. Winston and Chris, consequences are precisely the issue, specifically having the consequences occur closest to the party responsible for the action.

  68. Infidel Tiger

    There’s a massive difference between legalisation and decriminalisation.

  69. JamesK

    Tendulkar has just walked out.

    First ball boundary.

  70. John Mc

    Dismantle the welfare State to ensure neither Annie nor I are paying for many easily avoided and massively expensive neurosurgical outcomes for the helmetless Harley crowd and then go for your lives punters.

    I’ve got no problems with this, so long as you keep agreeing to keep the fuck out of my life. If you want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet then negotiate and pay your own insurance.

    I still maintain that conservatives are much more useful to the libertarian side than the left, or even ‘left-libertarians’ (sorry Jarrah). While the ideological disagreements will continue I think if libertarians leave traditional marriage and abortion alone, there will be enough conservatives who would support practical reform in drugs, guns and be militarily non-interentionist to form a viable ‘conservative libertarian’ voting block. Besides that, there’s a lot more economical common ground with the conservatives, or at least a lot less risk with regards to unexpected demands, than the lefties.

  71. John Mc

    Libertarians are well meaning but naive, just haven’t got around to considering the issue of consequences yet.

    Conservatives are still deluded collectivists who think that if you socialise the risk or limit personal choice three degrees of separation away from your immediate thoughts, then it’s not collectivism and there’s no downside.

  72. Jarrah

    “You might as well decriminalise murder, arson, rapae and theft, on the bais that they still occur despite the law banning them.”

    That’s not the basis for decriminalising drugs. It’s one of them, but is predicated on the fact that the mere act of taking drugs hurts no-one but the taker.

    “Legalising drugs makes not much sense. A government would just overtax it and then the scope for the drug dealers is still there as they undercut the market”

    Candy, does that happen with alcohol? No. Does that happen with cigarettes? Yes, a little bit. Yet this over-taxation only replicates one of the negative effects of criminalisation, so is still a lesser evil even with incompetent government.

  73. John Mc

    “You might as well decriminalise murder, arson, rapae and theft, on the bais that they still occur despite the law banning them.”

    There is no possible situation in which arson, rape or theft is acceptable or does not have a downside. Much drug use is ignored because it does not have a downside. Immediately the law becomes tenuous at best.

  74. .

    Only utter wankers and fools think that decriminalising drugs is a good thing

    Except that you think being free to do drugs is a good thing, and the way to get around this is to keep quiet, “only idiots get caught and they are the type of people you want off the streets”.

    Ahah yes we’re the utter wankers…FFS.

    In any case, as I never tire of explaining to libertarians (who are usually just marxists who have only half reformed)

    No, you may as well call me inbred if you’re going to say that.

    In any case, as I never tire of explaining to libertarians (who are usually just marxists who have only half reformed) if the Government decriminalised drugs it would immediately put in place a plethora of new laws to regulate the manufacture, sale and consumption of said drugs.

    Um…except if they didn’t.

    Libertarians are well meaning but naive, just haven’t got around to considering the issue of consequences yet.

    Really Chris? Would the neocons like the claim fighting two wars at once and underestimating the cost of both, particularly the long term macroeconomic costs to America, as a success of that little gem of wisdom?

    You blow up your “own” country and then you have the fucking temerity to lecture others about consequences…all the while they are talking about personal responsibility.

    Still waiting for JamesK to explain why abolishing the marriage act will lead to large scale riots.

    Libertarians in Australia don’t even agitate for full blown libertarianism politically, the LDP for example only goes so far as to expound a policy platform a conservative Government would implement if they grew a fucking backbone.

    So the uniqueness of that policy will probably stand for a long time.

  75. Alfonso

    Gotta be a 5 Martini arvo with no horses doovers at Dots.

    “what libertarianism is about – personal responsibility.”….. gets the year’s cognitive dissonance prize.

    Without a hint of recognition Dot claims the right to take personal responsibility in all things EXCEPT THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY of paying for the consequences of easily avoided risk behaviour which he seems able to rationalise others must contribute to.

  76. .

    No, Alfonso.

    You are lying.

    You are blatantly lying and why you would do this raises questions about your presence here.

    On top of that, what you are saying is either a deliberate lie, or so grossly misinformed in as much as you are functionally retarded.

    Finally, it is grossly offensive.

    Please point to any genuinely libertarian (not left-”libertarian”) group or party that advocates that others pay for the decisions of individuals.

  77. John Mc

    Alfonso, I’m not really sure how to make this clearer, but libertarians believe you should pay for your the risks of your own choices. How about this: you put up a proposal to abolish some form of socialised risk of your choice and we’ll support it?

  78. Dot claims the right to take personal responsibility in all things EXCEPT THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY of paying for the consequences of easily avoided risk behaviour which he seems able to rationalise others must contribute to.

    Nobody has ever claimed that on this site. I don’t know why you think it’s some kind of universal gotcha.

    I completely agree that health insurance providers should be able to charge whatever they like for premiuims.

    You have to realise the consequences of this though: Rather than punish drunks, drug users, and irresponsible bicyclists as you might hope, the main losers would be old people who do none of those things.

  79. wreckage

    I support decriminalisation on a case-by-case basis.

    I think there is a case under a moderate libertarianism for limiting the sale of goods known to be harmful. This is because the cost of discovering the inherent harm in every single transaction individually is too high.

    I’m conservative in that I believe in retaining social institutions that work. This is because I believe that social institutions can evolve that are broken; take certain Pashtun tribes, where pederasty and misogyny have turned into a huge, horrific and self-sustaining disaster.

    As far as it goes you might as well consider me conservative, with a belief that freedom is almost always harmless and usually hugely beneficial to my social goals, which are a healthy economy and a safe, friendly place to raise my kids.

    Or you could call me a very, very cautious libertarian who believes that social institutions can evolve and be adaptive outside of an explicit marketplace.

  80. Alfonso

    Nice avoidance now address the point Dot.

    You cannot insure your helmetless and other halfwit risks, like no seatbelts, because the premiums will break you, so now, Hallelujah, Dot isn’t doing risk behaviours he can’t insure / accept independent of me.

    Excellent. Now stop pretending. If you aren’t financially capable of running your Libert choices, you’re just posing.

    Insure or accept the financial Libert risks yourself, which is it?
    I want it in writing so I’m not paying for you dribbling in an easily avoided wheelchair for 40 years because you thought it was cool to ride helmetless…….

  81. wreckage

    You have to realise the consequences of this though: Rather than punish drunks, drug users, and irresponsible bicyclists as you might hope, the main losers would be old people who do none of those things.

    Which is a problem for low-paid workers when they get old. Proposed solution from the hardest of the hardcore libertarians? Not a “gotcha”, genuinely want to know. (Since we disagree vehemently on almost everything, I can hope to get a genuinely different perspective, which is always good.)

  82. John Mc

    You cannot insure your helmetless and other halfwit risks, like no seatbelts, because the premiums will break you, so now

    Rubbish. It doesn’t exist in Australia because you can’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Mountain climbers and yachtsmen insure themselves for rescue, professional models insure their looks, professional drivers can even insure against loss of license in Australia, military people insure themselves before going on operations. If you make this market there will be insurers and the premiums will probably be dear but completely affordable.

  83. John Mc

    I want it in writing so I’m not paying for you dribbling in an easily avoided wheelchair for 40 years because you thought it was cool to ride helmetless…….

    Then support a non-interventionist military policy. It’ll save you a lot more money in this area than just about anything you’d like to ban.

  84. Yobbo, do you fancy addressing anything else I said?

    Sure wreckage:

    1) Most important. It must be permissible to fire immediately and without recourse someone who you judge to be impaired by a drug.

    So this is basically saying you can fire anyone for any reason at any time, since your judgement is pretty subjective. I agree that employers should have the right to do this, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the war on drugs. It’s a matter of labor law.

    2) Leniency for sentencing for impaired judgement due to drug use must be removed, preferably reversed.

    Again, this has nothing to do with the drug war. The most dangerous judgement-impairing drug – alcohol – is already legal, and 99% of such cases are concerning alcohol.

    3) Less important. I do not particularly want to bear the sole cost of testing employees. I certainly do not want to face litigation for permitting an employee to work while he or she was under the influence of a perfectly legal substance, particularly if the tell-tales are hard to spot.

    Again, nothing to do with the drug war. You would still be liable now if you permitted an employee to work under the effects of alcohol, a perfectly legal substance. This is a question of duty of care, nothing to do with the legality of drugs.

    4) Access to given drugs would have to be restricted. Alternatively it must be made legal to beat into a wheelchair someone who sells pot to my kid.

    Completely ridiculous statement. You no more have the right to beat up people selling drugs you don’t like than you have the right to beat up people selling pornography or condoms.

    If your kid buys legal drugs now, should you have the right to beat up the liquor store owner or the chemist that sells them? Of course not.

    Your hatred of drug dealers is completely misplaced. Most of the illegal drugs we are talking about were perfectly legal when your grandfather or great-grandfather was a boy.

    Heroin was legal in Australia until 1953. It’s quite possible your grandparents took it in their cough syrup. Cannabis was brought to Australia with the first fleet and was legal until 1938.

    Your cultural aversion to them is completely manufactured, mostly by racist scare campaigns of the late 1930′s and 1940s.

  85. wreckage

    Coulter’s not a Neocon, she’s a Paleocon without any social refinement.

  86. To put it in another analogy, your opposition to “illicit drugs” makes about as much sense as a muslim railing against the eating of pork products.

    If you were opposed to all drugs (including alcohol), then you would at least be logically consistent. But opposing “illicit drugs” purely because they are illegal makes no more sense than a muslim who is happy to eat lamb but opposes pork because the Koran says so.

    There is actually no logically consistent reason why today’s “illicit drugs” are illegal at all. They were mostly banned in periods of temperance movements and moral panic. Keeping them banned for no particular reason is costing us billions of dollars and lots of innocent lives.

  87. Alfonso

    Rubbish. Mountaineer / yacht rescue costs are not helmetless dribbling in a wheelchair for 40 years costs. Tack on that little gem to your request for an insurance quote without Medicare and you’ll need to sell the Range Rover each year, possum. Be interesting to get a non Medicare assisted seatbeltless personal quote….you better sit sit down.

  88. wreckage

    You no more have the right to beat up people selling drugs you don’t like than you have the right to beat up people selling pornography or condoms.

    You are no fun at all.

    Your cultural aversion to them is completely manufactured, mostly by racist scare campaigns of the late 1930′s and 1940s.

    If you check elsewhere you’ll find that I’m relatively moderate. If someone gave my kid spirits I’d like to club them for that too. I don’t, though, because I’m civilised. Also, if it wasn’t clear: the idea of beating someone into permanent disability was intended as a macabre joke. I do not advocate such things.

    My points weren’t to do with drug law. I see other laws as impediments to liberalisation of drug laws. If you look at this as questions regarding reforms I would support right now, rather than a theoretical discussion of the ideal, my points make sense.

    You would still be liable now if you permitted an employee to work under the effects of alcohol, a perfectly legal substance. This is a question of duty of care, nothing to do with the legality of drugs.

    I’m asking whether I can be reasonably expected to spot the effects of a much wider array of drugs with a much wider array of half-lives (fat soluble stuff for example). Do you believe I should be liable for an employee who shows up for work drunk and injures himself or others?

  89. wreckage

    There is actually no logically consistent reason why today’s “illicit drugs” are illegal at all.

    So, there’s really no drug at all that is so harmful it should be restricted? Banned? Heavily taxed? Restricted to low doses?

    I think you’re mistaking my position. I do not believe that all illicit drugs should stay illegal, which is why I laid out conditional approval for the idea.

  90. If you can’t spot the effects, they probably aren’t going to be that much of a problem.

    Some illicit drugs would actually improve performance. Meth and Speed for example, are given to fighter pilots to improve reaction time and concentration.

    Do you believe I should be liable for an employee who shows up for work drunk and injures himself or others?

    If you knew he was drunk and told him to keep driving the forklift, yes. Still, I don’t see how that makes it harder to legalise drugs. It is not like people do not turn up to work now under the influence of drugs. Whether those drugs are legal or illegal is completely irrelevant under the kid of duty of care torts you are talking about.

  91. .

    Nice avoidance now address the point Dot.

    No, you answer the question posed to you.

    Libertarians don’t support subsidising the lifestyles or decisions of others.

    That is a fact and we are getting tired of restating it then hearing you wank on about how fucking great you are.

    You’re just a lying fuckwit with an agenda, Alfonso.

  92. .

    Rubbish. Mountaineer / yacht rescue costs are not helmetless dribbling in a wheelchair for 40 years costs. Tack on that little gem to your request for an insurance quote without Medicare and you’ll need to sell the Range Rover each year, possum. Be interesting to get a non Medicare assisted seatbeltless personal quote….you better sit sit down.

    Again this stupid fuckwit thinks having a law making people wear PPE mitigates all forms of major disability.

    What a disingenuous arseclown.

  93. wreckage

    If you knew he was drunk and told him to keep driving the forklift, yes. Still, I don’t see how that makes it harder to legalise drugs.

    It makes it harder for me to cope if I have to understand the cognitive effects and pharmacology of a wider array of drugs. I wouldn’t let someone work whilst slightly high. I don’t know enough about the cognitive effects of low doses of THC. But I also know I can’t reliably spot those effects. Therefore I am less likely to vote for it.

  94. So, there’s really no drug at all that is so harmful it should be restricted? Banned? Heavily taxed? Restricted to low doses?

    No. All you need is sufficient labelling.

    Trying to ban it always, always makes it worse. For evidence, look at the history of the last 100 years of drug prohibition.

    Besides which, alcohol is by far the most dangerous drug known to man. If you aren’t willing to ban alcohol, there is absolutely no point in banning all of these other, less harmful drugs.

    And yes, before you ask, I truly believe that heroin is less harmful than alcohol. Most deaths from heroin use are a result of prohibition (and as a result, making it impossible to determine dosage). And, even more importantly, the only person in danger from heroin use is the user himself. Heroin addicts don’t beat their wives, start fights with strangers, or plow their cars into oncoming traffic in a drunken stupor.

  95. John Mc

    Be interesting to get a non Medicare assisted seatbeltless personal quote….you better sit sit down.

    There is seatbelt-less insurance in the US. In fact, most lots of states with seat belt laws don’t enforce them, and the insurance is effectively seatbelt-less. Amazingly, ‘average’ people still manage to afford it. You are naive, and this leads you to call other people naive.

  96. wreckage

    And yes, before you ask, I truly believe that heroin is less harmful than alcohol.

    I WAS going to ask. I appreciate you taking the time to lay your argument out in some detail.

  97. .

    The idea of risk compensation is totally foreign to these gullible conservatives.

    Seat belts make you safer?

    No.

    You drive more in a more risk adverse manner until the chances of being injured equal the pre seat belt condition.

    People without seatbelts are less likely to harm other people.

    You guys should seriously suck on that for a while.

  98. wreckage

    You drive more in a more risk adverse manner until the chances of being injured equal the pre seat belt condition.

    That’s an assertion. If you can link to a decent study with some equally decent commentary I’m interested.

  99. Jim Rose

    opposition to nudging but acceptance of seat belt laws is an interesting conundrum

  100. wreckage

    opposition to nudging but acceptance of seat belt laws is an interesting conundrum

    I am for protective structures in vehicles and their proper use, provided there is no reduction in function or utility.

    Dot, without a link it’s an assertion! Thanks for the link as requested. Can I get a smile with that prompt service?

  101. wreckage

    Interesting. It seems that the best supported conclusion is that there are two kinds of people: those that would have used seatbelts and those that wouldn’t. When the second group are forced to wear seatbelts they increase their risky behaviour. More generally, risk compensation may reduce, eliminate, or reverse the positive effects of compulsory safety.

    Interestingly, “risk compensation” supports the conservatives on the subject of condoms in schools.

  102. wreckage

    Politically, the reason for supporting bans but not nudging is that nudging is pernicious and easy, bans are big and difficult. So it is in effect a demand that politicians take the hard road and make the case.

  103. pete m

    The approximately 12 homosexuals in the country who want to pretend to get married are already free to mock up a ceremony in a park or something. Nobody is stopping them. C.L.

    MARRIAGE ACT 1961 – SECT 103
    Going through ceremony of marriage before person not authorised to solemnise it

    A person shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with another person knowing that the person solemnising the marriage is not authorised to solemnise it and having reason to believe that the other party to the marriage believes that the person solemnising the marriage is so authorised.

    Penalty: $500 or imprisonment for 6 months.

    MARRIAGE ACT 1961 – SECT 88EA
    Certain unions are not marriages

    A union solemnised in a foreign country between:

    (a) a man and another man; or

    (b) a woman and another woman;

    must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.

    You can’t have pretend marriages.

  104. wreckage

    A person shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with another person knowing that the person solemnising the marriage is not authorised to solemnise it and having reason to believe that the other party to the marriage believes that the person solemnising the marriage is so authorised.

    You can have a ceremony provided both parties know it isn’t being solemnised. Solemnised is being secured as a marriage under the marriage act.

  105. Oh no, now I agree with everything Yobbo says, especially the labour law comments. Also dot and Jarrah.
    But this is silly:

    You cannot insure your helmetless and other halfwit risks, like no seatbelts, because the premiums will break you..

    No. The premiums will modify your behaviour. Put a market-determined price on things and you won’t have to legislate. Truly the idea of freedom does not come naturally to people.
    (The reason I avoid using these labels like “Libertarian” is because Alfonso and JamesK develop such hairbrained impressions of what it means.)

  106. wreckage

    labels like “Libertarian”

    All political labels are imprecise. I like Classical Liberal because it sounds like a slightly more stuffy and risk-averse Libertarian :P

  107. Jarrah

    “Interestingly, “risk compensation” supports the conservatives on the subject of condoms in schools.”

    I think condom availability doesn’t change behaviour enough to negate their protective effects.

    Teenagers want to have sex. It’s not like the seatbelt example, where people are more cautious before and less cautious afterwards. This can be seen empirically in the US, where states with different condom availability have basically equivalent teen sex rates.

  108. wreckage

    I didn’t say it was strong support, and I was paraphrasing the article.

  109. sdfc

    Seat belts make you safer?

    No.

    This is why no one takes libertarians seriously.

  110. .

    You are denial of facts sdfc. You’d rather believe in “serious” fairy tales, you dullard.

  111. JamesK

    (The reason I avoid using these labels like “Libertarian” is because Alfonso and JamesK develop such hairbrained impressions of what it means.)

    For example?

  112. wreckage

    sdfc, have a look here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltzman_effect

    it doesn’t make Dot’s position unassailable but gives you an idea what the argument is about.

  113. sdfc

    I saw the link. Seatbelts save lives. You don’t ahve to be driving particularly fast or dangerously to severely injure yourself in an accident if you are not wearing a seatbelt.

  114. John Mc

    This is why no one takes libertarians seriously.

    This is why conservatives are (sometimes) stupid. They think a rule can save them.

    Reminds me of the time my lovely wife was putting our sons in the car. She’s one of these people who follows rules religiously (I suspect the German heritage!). The seatbelt was too loose. I said this is dangerous, especially when driving on the highway at 110km/hr. It could even be more dangerous than not having a seatbelt on depending on the crash. In my professional life I’ve managed aircraft crash protection and watched probably hours of slow motion videos of aircraft crash studies. To her this was a minor detail, she’d followed the rules, and therefore was confident that I was being overly cautious and silly, and the rule would not be in place if it did not make them sufficiently safe.

  115. J.H.

    hammygar

    23 Feb 13 at 3:35 pm

    “make income tax voluntary”

    It already is for most businesses in this country. It’s only the workers who pay taxes because it’s taken out of their pay before they get

    ———————————————-

    Hammygar….. No, you are confusing “income tax” and “Company” tax.

    Companies pay lots of tax… and business should pay tax, and they do.

    My beef is with income tax. What the people earn and the bit the Government charges for their overrated, costly and useless services. I’d rather keep my own money and pay better and more competent people if and when I choose to…. and if Governments could act financially responsibly and balanced their budgets, curbed wasteful spending and where open and transparent….. I’d volunteer to pay taxes on the portions of society that interested and concerned me most…. otherwise the Government can run lotteries and chook raffles…. and I mean that. Everyone else has too if they want to raise money.

  116. wreckage

    Not me. I’m one of the guys who would have used seatbelts anyway. On, tightened, properly adjusted. No kids in the front passenger seat due to the airbag. No loose objects on rear shelves. I’d like a proper load cage in my old Ford stationwagon, too.

  117. Yes John Mc

    Also James, this example

    usually just marxists who have only half reformed

    OK. And snow is hot and black I guess.

    Also, if someone believes that the fact that they save lives is necessary and sufficient condition to make the wearing of seat belts mandatory, then why would this person not be vigorously lobbying to make the wearing of helmets in cars compulsory?
    I think a Libertarian is someone who can see that the truth of some cause and negative effect, and the merit of a piece of legislation, are two different things which ought to be considered and understood separately, and perhaps then asking if the one could help the other.
    There are those, at every point on the conventional political spectrum from religious right to raving Marxist who cannot perceive them as separate things. Who cannot conceive of a world undesigned, unplanned or unregulated. Who cannot understand that something can be called a problem without it automatically becoming a fit subject for government interference.

  118. John Mc

    Crash helmets in cars would save lives, lots of them. They would also dramatically cut back the number of accident victims with head injuries, and if certain types of helmets were used even spinal injuries, that end up imposing long term burdens on the welfare and medical systems. I’m not exaggerating anything for effect.

    Perhaps we should make it compulsory (seriously) that if you want to use the state system you should have to wear a helmet to minimise the collective burden of accidents. If you don’t want to wear a helmet in your car, you can pursue your own insurance arrangements and get some sort of rebate on your tax or rego or something with proof of insurance purchase.

  119. John Mc

    OHH, great minds think alike!!

    (Except in left wingers cases, where the dumb hive-minded drones have never had an original thought ever!!)

  120. Alfonso

    Ah, theoretical Liberts…. all hat no cattle…..if they really had to live their narrative they be crying to Statist mommy the minute Other Peoples’ Taxes aren’t subsidising their delusional arses.
    But Liberts would theoretically refuse money coercively obtained from others via tax…..wouldn’t they?

    ‘Bwaaa…..

  121. JamesK

    usually just marxists who have only half reformed

    That’s not my quote Ooh Honey Honey.

    And semi-reformed Marxists are nobody’s idea of a libertarian

    Give an example of where I have a “hairbrained” impression of what ‘libertarian’ means

  122. Tim

    Crash helmets in cars would save lives, lots of them.

    Oh for fucks sake. You think you’re being funny or making a clever point. But no – I’ll bet that within 10 years we see the first laws mandating wearing helmets in a car somewhere in the world, and within 20 they will be the new standard.

  123. Chris M

    “make income tax voluntary”

    In the US federal income tax is voluntary – the law was never ratified. Similarly in Australia council rates are voluntary. Be nice if some Libertarians stood up and pressed this point, would make you look more legit and all. ;)

  124. John Mc

    You think you’re being funny or making a clever point.

    Neither, I’m stating a fact!

  125. JamesK

    Oh for fucks sake. You think you’re being funny or making a clever point. But no – I’ll bet that within 10 years we see the first laws mandating wearing helmets in a car

    There better be bluetooth connectivity in-helmet Dolby surround sound

  126. 2dogs

    “privatise marriage”

    The modern institution of marriage is largely broken, and I think marriage privatisation, if it’s done the right way, might help. The glimmer of hope in the generally bad statistics surrounding this is that there is a lot of variation between cultures on this issue. That is, some cultures are getting it right.

    Now, traditionally, in marriage, there were actually three parties – the third being the church the couple was married in. The church’s role was to prevent obviously unworkable marriages, and to lay down the rules as to how the couple were to treat each other within marriage.

    After the separation of the church and state, the state took over this role. An odd notion at best, but the state being the state, stuffed it up completely. Matters of personal intimacy became subject to state regulatory and judicial oversight because that’s how the state rolls.

    In some cases, the churches haven’t surrendered their responsibility entirely. The Catholic church usually requires couples complete a six week course prior to marriage; this works quite well, and couples who have been through this course have a much lower divorce rate than the general community.

    It is these kinds of approaches I think need to explored; the problems of modern marriage is a kind of “information problem” that Hayek alluded to. The privatisation of marriage needs to take the form of cultural autonomy, so that ‘cultural entrepreneurs’ can build stronger marriages.

    I don’t mind if one of these cultural bodies decides to allow gay marriage, provided they are around to pick up the pieces of gay divorce.

  127. sdfc

    What? A little bicycle helmet I suppose. Anything bigger would impair driving ability.

  128. Jim Rose

    on the US federal income tax is voluntary – the law was never ratified; a few people end up in prison for tax evasion because they tried that argument in court.

    the actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to 3 years in prison for willful failure to file federal income tax returns

  129. JamesK

    The modern institution of marriage is largely broken, and I think marriage privatisation, if it’s done the right way, might help

    “Course the more likely result is that it would smash it to smithereens.

    And – by the way – apropos of nothing important – what do you mean by “privatise marriage” exactly and what the fuck does “cultural autonomy” – whatever the f-ck that drivel means – have to do with it?

  130. JamesK

    the actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to 3 years in prison for willful failure to file federal income tax returns

    A year for each $3 million of tax he evaded.

  131. JamesK I’m sorry. It was Rococo Liberal’s idea. Sorry.

    I was thinking of your comments at 3.30 where you suggested that Libertarians (made of straw) based their ideas on a hope for “an ideal world” or made their proposals conditional on “men [being] angels”. These arguments are all confections of your own and have nothing to do with what I understand it to mean.
    Again, I can only try to say what I think it means. Labels are unwieldy and prone to abuse.

  132. sdfc

    Are council rates voluntary? Tell me more.

  133. John Mc

    What? A little bicycle helmet I suppose. Anything bigger would impair driving ability.

    Well, I’m glad you asked.

    You could just have a lightweight helmet made out of a foam, with a similar burden to a bicycle helmet. That alone would have a significant difference to survivability.

    However, it’s not really the case. Helmets in military aircraft for example are designed not to impair situational awareness, and you wouldn’t even have to go near this level to get most of the safety benefits.

    However, the ‘ideal’ solutions would impair driving ability, such as having a helmet that fastened to the back of the seat. A full kit-out like this with a four or five point harness could make head-on high speed crashes reasonably survivable. Or ‘padding’ by some means the inside of the car, but that would almost certainly impede situational awareness.

    These solutions are probably not workable, but a lightweight helmet or slightly more is certainly workable. If you consider dollars vs benefits, the only thing tipping the balance away from doing it is individual convenience and preference. How much are you willing to force people to do things they’d rather not for their own good?

  134. John Mc

    based their ideas on a hope for “an ideal world” or made their proposals conditional on “men [being] angels”.

    Au contraire mon frere. Libertarians accept the world is not perfect and people are not angels, and dealing with this is the only way to achieve progress. Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.

  135. sdfc

    Many head injuries I’ve been told are the result of 4WDS t-boning other vehicles.

  136. sdfc

    No don’t ban 4WD, buy cars with side safety curtains.

  137. John Mc

    I’ve neer seen any data on this, but if we split every road we could with a barrier or some space so a collision with an oncoming vehicle can’t happen, then I imagine we would also save a lot of lives.

    Or subsidise air travel, so people (e.g. families on holidays) choose not to make long trips. That would probably make a tangible difference.

  138. Yes yes. This regulating bizzo is easy.
    It turns out, that 50% of all car accidents occur within one kilometre of the home.
    So, BAN people from going home. Do you see?

  139. JamesK

    I was thinking of your comments at 3.30 where you suggested that Libertarians (made of straw) based their ideas on a hope for “an ideal world” or made their proposals conditional on “men [being] angels”.

    I didn’t suggest anything of the sort.

    I quoted James Madison, the father of the US Constitution much beloved by libertarians

    I suggest you need to considerably broaden your apology and retract your assertion that I gave a “hairbrained” impression of what ‘libertarian’ means.

  140. .

    Ah, theoretical Liberts…. all hat no cattle…..if they really had to live their narrative they be crying to Statist mommy the minute Other Peoples’ Taxes aren’t subsidising their delusional arses.
    But Liberts would theoretically refuse money coercively obtained from others via tax…..wouldn’t they?

    ‘Bwaaa…..

    Alfonso
    23 Feb 13 at 10:09 pm

    Jesus. What an idiot. Does anyone want to send this poor prick to Holland where no doubt he’ll be euthanised?

  141. Alfonso

    So you have nothing except denial: while Liberts join the same queue to collect other people’s money for personal use as the best socialists around.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  142. John Mc

    So you have nothing except denial: while Liberts join the same queue to collect other people’s money for personal use as the best socialists around.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Alfonso, helmets in cars or not? There’s a significant saving to be made to ‘public funds’ from this. Surely you’re not advocating that people should freeload when there’s “easily avoided and massively expensive neurosurgical outcomes” that can be mitigated from the collective burden.

  143. Alfonso

    Correct TH.
    If optional short term behaviour is the cause and you can only indulge it because someone else is picking up your bills, and you desire to be Libert, you will then be happy to take personal responsibility for the finances also.
    Won’t you possum?

  144. Alfonso

    I have no data on the subjective ‘significant savings’ but if that is at seat belt savings, you bet…….or pay your own insurance and go helmetless in the car, but I can afford it and therefore I have the option. The poor as always have few choices.

  145. John Mc

    The poor as always have few choices.

    Under your social model they definitely would.

  146. Alfonso

    Welcome to ‘the world and how it works’ John M.

  147. John Mc

    When people make their own problems due to their naivety, it’s their own fault and not the ‘world’s’. That’s called taking responsibility. Surprisingly, something conservatives like yourself could learn something about.

  148. Alfonso

    Good god ….helmetless, seatbeltless Libert choices are not “due to their naivety”. My kelpie has been aware of the risks for ages.
    “That’s called taking responsibility”…. even funnier, yet you reject the main part of responsibility, financial responsibility. How can that be?

  149. .

    Alfonso is a left wing troll.

    QED.

  150. Alfonso

    Yeah sure, the pretend Libert with no cloths speaks.

  151. John Mc

    “That’s called taking responsibility”…. even funnier, yet you reject the main part of responsibility, financial responsibility

    For the billionth time, libertarians don’t reject it. Privatising all the risks is fine with me and every other libertarian.

    You are really just another form of socialist. You believe all the citizens, through the state, must socialise risks. You don’t believe there is room for private choice, private assumption of risk or private risk mitigation arrangements. The only difference between you and the usual socialists is they also believe there is no alternative but to socialise business and employment risks.

    You must admit yourself that you are closer to the ‘old labor’ socialists than classical liberals.

  152. JamesK I suggest you need to considerably lessen your sensitivity. The “ideal world” comment was yours (and hair-brained) and the quote from Madison (about whom I know little and who I do not hold beloved) you said was apposite.
    This is becoming trivial.

  153. .

    You must admit yourself that you are closer to the ‘old labor’ socialists than classical liberals.

    He must admit to the world he is some kind of moron.

    “All libertarians are pretend libertarians…blah blah blah”

  154. Alfonso

    Don’t be silly John M, you don’t have the money to privatise your risks, that’s why you are a Libert poseur unless I can leave your helmetless seatbeltless brain damaged arse in a tent I will have to pay for you via my taxes.

    I don’t want you to socialise any of your easily avoided seatbelttless type risk talking, I just want to avoid paying for it, are you a bit slow?

  155. .

    Alfonso is too dumb to understand how incentives work.

  156. John Mc

    Don’t be silly John M, you don’t have the money to privatise your risks,

    If I can’t afford it, I’ll agree to assume it or I won’t do it. You don’t want people to have this choice; you don’t believe they should be able to assume it. What part of this don’t you understand?

    As I’ve said, you are another naive socialist/collectivist, and your argument is self-contradicting. Probably like many of your positions and those of your fellow socialists. Think about this:

    If ‘average’ i.e the majority of people cannot afford the risks they assume, who is paying for it? Seatbelts in the grand scheme of things is quite tiny (although non-negligible). Is it subsidies from rich people? Is it running deficits? Is it taxes on something else that I’m not aware of? Where does the money come from to cover the costs of these risks?

    Would you agree that smoking is riskier than not wearing a seat belt? Let’s consider who covers this risk. Tobacco excise is $5billion. The direct medical costs attributed to smoking is somewhere around $1billion. So even if we double or triple that to add in every other realist cost we can think of, normal smokers are paying their way to mitigate this risk.

    But smoking is probably more dangerous than seat belts; it is touted as the no.1 killer time and time again. If people can afford this why can’t they afford to cover the cost of lesser risks in their lives?

  157. John Mc

    Alfonso is too dumb to understand how incentives work.

    There’s that too.

    We are only having this debate because these things are never being put to market, because the socialists/collectivists like Alfonso believe it’s immoral to let people manage these risks on an open, capitalist market. They do everything they can to deny people this choice.

    Because we never go to market, risk is managed in a sub-optimal manner and society has to bear the extra costs of this inefficiency (not to mention individuals are prevented from optimising their lives and businesses). Hence, we have another example of how the socialists/collectivists – even the ones who identify on the right side – actually hurt our society.

  158. Alfonso

    Yawn, smoke your way to heaven as you please, as long as the baccy tax mark up pays the cost and that cost isn’t covertly passed to me, go for your life, you should be getting it by now.

  159. JamesK

    JamesK I suggest you need to considerably lessen your sensitivity. The “ideal world” comment was yours (and hair-brained) and the quote from Madison (about whom I know little and who I do not hold beloved) you said was apposite.
    This is becoming trivial.

    What a thoroughly dishonest and disingenuous drivel from you, Ooh Honey Honey.

    Apparently I’m now “sensitive” because I corrected your silly assertion that I advanced a harebrained understanding of libertarianism

    The only thing air-headed or “trivial” is Ooh Honey Honey’s original dishonest and facile assertion.

  160. wreckage

    Course the more likely result is that it would smash it to smithereens.

    And – by the way – apropos of nothing important – what do you mean by “privatise marriage” exactly and what the fuck does “cultural autonomy” – whatever the f-ck that drivel means – have to do with it?

    What 2dogs proposed was that churches and other social groups should be free to organise the rules and obligations of their marriages as they saw fit, citing Catholic success in that area.

  161. JamesK

    What 2dogs proposed was that churches and other social groups should be free to organise the rules and obligations of their marriages as they saw fit, citing Catholic success in that area.

    They already do that wreckage

  162. wreckage

    They already do that wreckage

    Yep, except that there’s no possible legal enforcement of anything, ever, not even breach of contract.

  163. dover_beach

    The use of the word ‘privatize’ in “privatize marriage” is equivocal at best. Marriages are ‘public’ by definition; the ceremonies are celebrated in public, they must be witnessed. They communicate to the world that X and Y are now joined permanently and exclusively. I know some might find it tempting to employ the word ‘privatize’ – a word that denotes that the ownership, management, administration of X is private – but since marriages have always been private in this sense, the usage of the phrase is nothing more than rhetorical.

  164. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Truthtold, can you drop the shift key please? It is hurting my ears. This thread is all over the place and it’s hard enough to concentrate without an extra annoyance.

    J.S. Mill “On Liberty” – great. But it is an ideal, not a system. Theodore Dalrymple piece linked by someone earlier was quite interesting on this.

  165. wreckage

    The thing about Libertarianism is that I am naturally suspicious of any internally consistent and totally philosophically coherent political system ;)

  166. John Mc

    The thing about Libertarianism is that I am naturally suspicious of any internally consistent and totally philosophically coherent political system ;)

    This is the number one obstacle to human progress, it’s just reality. The fact is human beings evolved as pack animals and this is still wired in as a survival mechanism. And the use of reason as our primary means decision making is probably our most recently added trait; we still have that desire to seek meaning by baying at the moon from time to time.

  167. JamesK

    Yep, except that there’s no possible legal enforcement of anything, ever, not even breach of contract.

    So that’s NOT what he proposed then.

    What he proposed wasn’t the ‘privatisation’ of marriage -as I said earlier, whatever the f-ck that means – but the abolition of a legally recognised marriage including presumably common law and paternity obligations.

    S0 why didn’t he call it what it is – the abolition of all legally recognisd marriages and paternities.

    Probably because he knows anyone who proposed that insanity would be roundly derided – as they should.

  168. .

    No James it means you get rid of the marriage act and put it under common law and contract.

    Such “insanity” served most of the Australian and British middle class well in the 1800s.

    Furthermore, repealing the Marriage Act wouldn’t end in riots as you hysterically posited the other day.

    Dover’s definition of “public law” is so twisted that the rules of commerce are not only public good but private commercial decisions are also public interest. A conservative must do logical Berani flips (viz. being arse backwards) to untangle themselves with these bizzare predicates.

  169. JamesK

    No James it means you get rid of the marriage act and put it under common law and contract.

    Such “insanity” served most of the Australian and British middle class well in the 1800s.

    Furthermore, repealing the Marriage Act wouldn’t end in riots as you hysterically posited the other day.

    No dot, apparently it means whatever you divine it to mean.

    And don’t be coy and/or scheming – do tell us what “(s)uch “insanity” served most of the Australian and British middle class well in the 1800s” is actually supposed to mean.

  170. .

    That’s what it means and we’ve consistently said so. Please point to where we have said otherwise.

    And don’t be coy and/or scheming – do tell us what “(s)uch “insanity” served most of the Australian and British middle class well in the 1800s” is actually supposed to mean.

    Buy a fucking history book, that’s what it means.

  171. JamesK

    That’s what it means and we’ve consistently said so.

    Buy a fucking history book, that’s what it means.

    Who’s “we” you dishonest disingenuous turd?

  172. dover_beach

    No James it means you get rid of the marriage act and put it under common law and contract.

    dot, for the life of me, I still do not understand how you can persist with this silly idea that the common law is not public. Marriages, under your system, would still fall within the ambit of civil, and, now, ecclesiastical, jurisdiction. And they would still require formal and substantive definition.

    Dover’s definition of “public law” is so twisted that the rules of commerce are not only public good but private commercial decisions are also public interest. A conservative must do logical Berani flips (viz. being arse backwards) to untangle themselves with these bizzare predicates.

    The rules of commerce are indeed a public good, and private commercial decisions may indeed be of public concern, not interest. Your problem is that you think the implications of this are bizarre because you understand ‘public good’ economically, and I don’t thing you appreciate what is meant by ‘public concern’ that is indicated by your use of the phrase ‘public interest’ which is a phrase I generally avoid and is certainly not what I’m arguing.

  173. Jarrah

    “I still do not understand how you can persist with this silly idea that the common law is not public”

    If I were to engage in this kind of sophistry, Lizzie and others would be on my case in an instant.

    To ‘privatise’ marriage is to remove the government from imposing itself on the contract, nothing more. Privatised marriages will rely on government-provided courts for enforcement of promises like any other contract, but that is a neutral involvement. Having government dictate terms is not.

  174. Jarrah

    Dammit, got sucked into discussing marriage in a non-approved thread. Forgive me, oh Doomlord!

  175. John Mc

    There is no forgiveness. Get your affairs in order.

  176. JamesK

    To ‘privatise’ marriage is to remove the government from imposing itself on the contract, nothing more. Privatised marriages will rely on government-provided courts for enforcement of promises like any other contract, but that is a neutral involvement. Having government dictate terms is not.

    It’s Jarrah, so it’s to be expected.

    There is no definition of ‘privatised marriage’ you fool and what clearly seems to obvious to a clown like you, actually isn’t.

    Government don’t dictate terms and your assertion they do is meaningless tosh.

    Nobody is forced into the Marriage Act.

    You are free to be married by the Catholic Church or other institutions with no requirement to sign under the jurisdiction of the Marriage Act. Furthermore the marriage vows are the choice of the couple.

    You’re a offensively stupid Jarrah

    And only fellow space cadets would subscribe to your idea of ‘privatized marriage’

  177. Jarrah

    You are no Doomlord, to be giving or withholding forgiveness.

  178. .

    You are free to be married by the Catholic Church or other institutions with no requirement to sign under the jurisdiction of the Marriage Act. Furthermore the marriage vows are the choice of the couple.

    Yes they are James. Stop spouting bullshit.

  179. Jarrah

    “Government don’t dictate terms and your assertion they do is meaningless tosh.”

    Are you living in an alternative reality (only able to communicate through Catallaxy), where there is no Marriage Act that sets out a variety of terms that cannot be altered by the people actually getting married?

    “You’re a offensively stupid Jarrah”

    Yes, you keep saying things of this nature. I’m sorry to inform you that it appears that you’ve got it backwards. For example:

    “You are free to be married by the Catholic Church or other institutions with no requirement to sign under the jurisdiction of the Marriage Act.”

    LOL

  180. .

    The rules of commerce are indeed a public good, and private commercial decisions may indeed be of public concern, not interest. Your problem is that you think the implications of this are bizarre because you understand ‘public good’ economically, and I don’t thing you appreciate what is meant by ‘public concern’ that is indicated by your use of the phrase ‘public interest’ which is a phrase I generally avoid and is certainly not what I’m arguing.

    You’re illiterate?

    Well fuck me that isn’t my problem.

  181. JamesK

    Yes they are James. Stop spouting bullshit.

    I’m not spouting bullshit you moron.

    The Church isn’t the Federal government.

    In Ireland a separate civil registry is signed in the Sacristy after the ceremony with witnesses and I think here a certificate is signed by the priest, the couple and two witnesses and sent in to the federal government.

    The Catholic Church’s certificate of Marriage is distinct from the Commonwealth government’s certificate.

  182. dover_beach

    If I were to engage in this kind of sophistry, Lizzie and others would be on my case in an instant.

    Ah, yes, the judiciary interpreting the common law has never imposed itself on the terms of the contract prior to the establishment of legislative acts. Speaking of alternative realities….

    To ‘privatise’ marriage is to remove the government from imposing itself on the contract, nothing more. Privatised marriages will rely on government-provided courts for enforcement of promises like any other contract, but that is a neutral involvement. Having government dictate terms is not.

    And what in substance does this imposition involve: that marriage is between the sexes, permanent, and exclusive? What a horrid imposition! Ring the bells! This is like arguing that it is an imposition to say that a contract is for a specifiable period, only includes the parties, and the like.

    You’re illiterate? Well fuck me that isn’t my problem.

    dot, your illiteracy is very much your problem; I’m only trying to help you.

  183. .

    “I think”

    James,

    Please read the marriage act.

    The church could not even marry you legally in a “non recognised” marriage.

    They are authorised under regulation to be able to legally marry people.

  184. .

    Dover

    “Marriage is a public institution”…only because the legislation prescribes that.

    Please do not go around under the illusion you can reason other people into your belief system.

  185. Monkey's Uncle

    Alfonso, if you believe that libertarianism is bunk because people will always and invariably wish to be protected from the consequences of their own poor choices, you fail to understand that exactly the same reasoning can be used to restrict economic freedom as much as it can be used to restrict social freedom.

    Should people be allowed to invest in a relatively risky investment portfolio? What happens if their investments tank? How do I know they will not all go running to the government like a bunch of crybabies demanding socialist bailouts? Maybe everyone could just be forced to invest most of their money in term deposits or AAA rated bonds. And shouldn’t investors face high taxes in order to cover the downside risk that they will try to socialise their losses if their investments go south?

    If you dislike social insurance leading to greater levels of moral hazard, the obvious solution is to roll back the social insurance rather than to restrict freedom. The truth is that people like you just like telling others what to do, and the ultimate justification for doing so is to claim that others might potentially impose costs on you.

    Apparently there are no true libertarians, only closet socialist cretins just itching to impose costs on others due to their own foolish choices. If that is the case, how can people be trusted to run their own economic affairs any more than they can be trusted with freedom in other areas?

  186. Oh come on

    Oh for chuck steak does this have to become another thread about SSM?

    Re. insurance premiums becoming unaffordable if wearing helmets and seatbelts isn’t mandatory – no, there’s no need to increase premiums in such a case. A mainstream insurance policy would simply deny cover to those who don’t wear them and find themselves in an accident.

    Of course there may be some boutique policy that offers coverage for people who for whatever reason don’t want to wear a seatbelt or a helmet when they drive a car or ride a motorbike – it would be up to an actuary to calculate if it is financially feasible to offer such a policy.

  187. sdog

    A mainstream insurance policy would simply deny cover to those who don’t wear them and find themselves in an accident.

    I know that at least some health insurers in the States will not cover you for injuries acquired whilst doing something illegal – thus if you’re driving drunk and smash into a tree, your ambulance and hospital bills are yours to pay, not theirs. Car insurance is the same – they won’t pay out on a totaled car if you totaled it whilst driving drunk. I don’t know what the deal with seatbelts would be, though.

  188. sdog


    If you dislike social insurance leading to greater levels of moral hazard, the obvious solution is to roll back the social insurance rather than to restrict freedom. The truth is that people like you just like telling others what to do, and the ultimate justification for doing so is to claim that others might potentially impose costs on you.

    Amen.

  189. Oh come on

    I don’t know what the deal with seatbelts would be, though.

    Well, seeing as though refraining from wearing seatbelts or helmets does not in itself cause accidents, I would presume that an insurance company would cover a client who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt or helmet for property and any 3rd party damage if provided for in their policy, however it would be reasonable for the insurance company to deny cover for any injuries sustained.

    There is no need to make wearing helmets and seatbelts mandatory. The market can, as it pretty much always does, sort this out without state intervention.

  190. Conservative response to losing the marriage debate: Start the argument anew on a new thread.

  191. Oh come on

    Yobbo: cue the screeching and faeces hurling from a regular Catallaxy commenter who I don’t think needs to be named.

  192. JamesK

    They are authorised under regulation to be able to legally marry people

    No shit?

    What has that to do with the price of potatoes?

    You’re floundering dot.

  193. Pedro

    “Well, seeing as though refraining from wearing seatbelts or helmets does not in itself cause accidents”

    That is not entirely true. I remember reading a good article about this. The attention grabbing claim in the article is that you can majorly reduce traffic accidents by having a long spike sticking out of the steering wheel. Apparently research has shown that increased safety measures lead to increased risk taking.

  194. Adrien

    So Ann Coulter wants to continue with the DEA and its billion dollar apparatus directed toward, amongst other things, destroying arable land in territories beyond US borders which is guaranteed to plant even more everlasting hatred in even more hearts.

    However when welfare is cancelled she’s willing to defer to State’s rights and allow ‘crazy’ libertarian states like California and Arizona to make pot etc. legal whilst nice conservative states can proceed without.

    That’s nice. It’ll never happen.

  195. .

    They are authorised under regulation to be able to legally marry people

    No shit?

    What has that to do with the price of potatoes?

    You’re floundering dot.

    Read the fucking act you dolt. You have NFI.

  196. Adrien

    I wonder how wide the schism is between ‘Neoconservatives’ and Libertarians. A decade ago one did hear of these tribal differences now they cause the police to be called to University campuses. What is a conservative anyway? According to this there are six. But still another type of conservative begs to ask if “authentic American conservatism retain any political viability in this country in the present age?”

    As in does it mean anything to say one is conservative?

    The author answers himself in the affirmative but advises acolytes of “Ayn Rand or Milton Friedman” to “stop reading here and flip to the next article.” So Ann Coulter thinks John Stossel is crazy while Stossel wonders how someone as smart as Coulter can fail to see while somewhere in the MidWest there’s a stirring of folks dismissing as snake oil the pair of ‘em.

  197. Adrien

    That’s ‘one did not hear of these tribal differences’ sorry.

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