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Ivhon
05-03-2010, 06:20 PM
I know (and to an extent even agree) that Libertarians are very strongly against government intrusion into individuals' lives (Census, etc.).

What is the stance on Corporate intrusion? For example, companies selling personal information to anyone who wants to buy it? Is that equally frowned on? Frowned on, but not as much as if the feds do it? Perfectly hunkey-dorey?

Just curious and I promise not to bite back on responses....here, at any rate.

Sinistrum
05-03-2010, 08:52 PM
I generally dislike it. Corporations digging into my private life are just as generally meddlesome as the government is. Its why all government jurisdictions have legislation in place to protect instrusions against privacy by private actors.

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

However, that said, if someone is dumb enough to agree to share their info for whatever use the corporation wants too, within the law, and they were given a full and fair chance to understand what they were doing, then said someone deserves whatever they get.

Zaela Sedai
05-03-2010, 09:24 PM
I never *knowingly* allow anyone to sell my info to a third party. It bothers me, not sure if it goes along with my Libertarian views or not...probably has something to do with it.

Ivhon
05-03-2010, 11:36 PM
Im starting to get very annoyed at Facebook - which is the reason I asked.

@ Sini - I agree with you in principle. However, how far is reasonable that I have to wade through the pages and pages of intentionally obfuscating fine print every time I sign something? I realize I take a risk every time I don't do this (and I usually do read the fine print...most of it, anyway)...but then I don't feel like I can afford to hire a lawyer every time I want to click on a EULA or rent a car or open a bank account or _____

Sinistrum
05-04-2010, 12:07 AM
Well then it all comes down to your definition of "full and fair chance." I honestly don't think most fine print documents provide that. A lot of courts agree with me, which is why a lot of those provisions are difficult to enforce, even if agreed too.

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

GonzoTheGreat
05-04-2010, 03:56 AM
Come on!

Spammers trading lists of e-mail addresses between them is just an example of the free market at work. That is precisely what libertarianism is all about. Anyone who objects to that is a statist tool without a mind of his own.

Channeling libertarians is not as difficult as it seems, kids, but remember: do it only in moderation.

Mort
05-04-2010, 08:37 AM
Come on!

Spammers trading lists of e-mail addresses between them is just an example of the free market at work. That is precisely what libertarianism is all about. Anyone who objects to that is a statist tool without a mind of his own.

Channeling libertarians is not as difficult as it seems, kids, but remember: do it only in moderation.

For once I don't get where you're coming from and what your point is. If there is a point at all.

On Topic:
Libertarianism advocates individual and civil liberties. Their pet peeve seems to be government influence and control why they want to minimize that or even abolish goverment altogether. Although their core value stems from individual liberties, so they should be just as concerned about other instances that lessens civil liberties.

The tricky part, I believe, is if core libertarians view corporations as responsible just as the government in this issue, or if it's just an unlucky side effect of the free market (and that hence it's a free market, the problem will be taken care of in the free market). Which brings up the subject of corporate regulations.

Corporate law views corporations as legal persons, distinct from it's stakeholders. Going by this, libertarians should be against corporate regulations too. So within the law, there wouldn't be much to proactively stop a corporation from doing evil stuff.
Although it clashes with maintaining civil and individual liberties of actual persons if said corporation would infringe on these liberties.

I don't believe all libertarians view it the same way. The spectrum in this aspect goes from "Regulations" to "Free Market problem solving". Where Free market problem solving goes along the lines of: "If you believe a corporation lessens your liberties, don't involve yourself in it". Which also is the stance of the hardcore libertarians I think.

The issue I have with the free market option is that the damage may already be done when you learn the corporation that you have involved yourself with didn't have all the good intentions you hoped for. With no legal recourse to settle the issue.

I'm a big civil and individual liberty proponent, that includes companies. But if I have to choose between actual people and companies, I would go with people. Which is why I believe some regulations on corporations are necessary.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-04-2010, 09:10 AM
I know (and to an extent even agree) that Libertarians are very strongly against government intrusion into individuals' lives (Census, etc.).

What is the stance on Corporate intrusion? For example, companies selling personal information to anyone who wants to buy it? Is that equally frowned on? Frowned on, but not as much as if the feds do it? Perfectly hunkey-dorey?

Just curious and I promise not to bite back on responses....here, at any rate.

I dont' understand why do you think that libertarians would endorse corporate monopolies. Maybe it's the traditional US libertarian view... or something

but anyways, corporations are lot like states. They consist of buyers of the end product (~citizens), employees (~gov't employees and institutions) and the Board of Directors/Shareholders (~the Parliament, Government, Cabinet, what have you). In that sense I do not believe that the corporation has any more or less right to the use of the buyer's personal information than a state does of the use of its citizens' information.

However, since the Information Age is still relatively young and philosophers have not had a couple of hundred years to ponder on the moral implications of data sharing and the lawmakers have not had equally as long to figure out all the possible legal ramifications, this is still rather a gray area and will probably remain so for a while. No matter whether we're talking about governments, corporations or people themselves sharing personal information.

GonzoTheGreat
05-04-2010, 09:18 AM
For once I don't get where you're coming from and what your point is. If there is a point at all.My point is that all those annoying spam messages are a prime example of libertarian ideals put into practice. No government control on what they do with your email address once they have it, nothing but the forces of the market to restrain them. A restraint which isn't very noticeable, I have to say. Suggesting that the free market is very happy with billions of viagra ads.

If anyone can make a libertarian argument against the unbounded expansion of spam, then I would be interested to hear it.

Basel Gill
05-04-2010, 09:22 AM
This is one area where I'm all about some more regulation.

To the original point, Facebook is free (at least for now) and I suppose that we should all have expected some covert marketing crap from that and in that case, while infinitely annoying, I don't know how it can be regulated. (I know all that didn't exactly flow logically, I haven't had coffee yet).

As for corporations. They are treated as individuals by corporate law, then I don't see how it is a major stretch to treat them as individuals in (lawyers correct me if I use the wrong term) tort or criminal law as well.

People sue corporations for damages from products etc. Why not something like stalking? If I continually ask a corporation to stop bothering me say on my telephone or e-mail account and they keep it up, how is that different from Joe Schmo stalking and harassing me?

Sinistrum
05-04-2010, 01:50 PM
If that is what you really think Gonzo, then you really have no idea what libertarianism is. Yes, we believe in the free market, property rights, and limited government. But implicit to ALL of those beliefs is that a person or persons only has the right to sell, possess, or otherwise dispose of that which, they, themselves produce. Personal information is not a product, and it isn't produced by corporations. It is generated by nothing more than the very existence of a person and their daily interactions within society. It is something inherent to individuals, not pumped out in a factory, mined from the earth, or sold in a store. Therefore, it is impossible for corporations to "produce" personal information without first obtaining permission, and attempting to do so is in fact in violation of the concept of free market captialism. In point of fact, corporations data mining individual's info is far closer to socialism, since it is taking something from someone who has an inherent right to it, without permission, and redistributing it to someone else for that someone else's "good."

If anyone can make a libertarian argument against the unbounded expansion of spam, then I would be interested to hear it.

Simple. Libertarians, in addition to not liking the government meddling in their affairs, also don't like other people in general meddling either. That is why we acknowledge and support the existence of LIMITED government (notice it doesn't say non-existence as the delusion you seem to be laboring under assumes) actions such as law enforcement.

As for corporations. They are treated as individuals by corporate law, then I don't see how it is a major stretch to treat them as individuals in (lawyers correct me if I use the wrong term) tort or criminal law as well.

This describes the current state of both our civil and criminal law. There are in fact certain classes of crimes that ONLY apply to corporations.

Crispin's Crispian
05-04-2010, 04:18 PM
I dont' understand why do you think that libertarians would endorse corporate monopolies. Maybe it's the traditional US libertarian view... or something

but anyways, corporations are lot like states. They consist of buyers of the end product (~citizens), employees (~gov't employees and institutions) and the Board of Directors/Shareholders (~the Parliament, Government, Cabinet, what have you). In that sense I do not believe that the corporation has any more or less right to the use of the buyer's personal information than a state does of the use of its citizens' information.

However, since the Information Age is still relatively young and philosophers have not had a couple of hundred years to ponder on the moral implications of data sharing and the lawmakers have not had equally as long to figure out all the possible legal ramifications, this is still rather a gray area and will probably remain so for a while. No matter whether we're talking about governments, corporations or people themselves sharing personal information.

I would assume a true capitalist libertarian's view would be that the market should sort out the privacy problems. That is, rational consumers will base their economic decisions on how they feel about a company's privacy practices.

The free market can't sort out the government, so government should be restricted.

So, no, libertarian's probably don't want Google or Facebook sniffing through their personal info, but it's not the government's place to tell them not to do it.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-04-2010, 04:50 PM
I would assume a true capitalist libertarian's view would be that the market should sort out the privacy problems. That is, rational consumers will base their economic decisions on how they feel about a company's privacy practices.

The free market can't sort out the government, so government should be restricted.

So, no, libertarian's probably don't want Google or Facebook sniffing through their personal info, but it's not the government's place to tell them not to do it.

sure it is. a government is just a different kind of corporation. The main objectives are rather different: a corporation's main objective is to turn profit, and any power that comes from the profit is welcome and weilded in a way to make more profit. Whereas a government's (=political parties') main objective is to gain power in order to modify the society, thus making money (taxes), thus gaining even more power. Power battle on the market of our everyday society and all that. Since so far Power > money in our Western society, governments get to tell corporations how to behave.

I don't think I'm a very typical libertarian:p

Crispin's Crispian
05-04-2010, 07:14 PM
sure it is. a government is just a different kind of corporation. The main objectives are rather different: a corporation's main objective is to turn profit, and any power that comes from the profit is welcome and weilded in a way to make more profit. Whereas a government's (=political parties') main objective is to gain power in order to modify the society, thus making money (taxes), thus gaining even more power. Power battle on the market of our everyday society and all that. Since so far Power > money in our Western society, governments get to tell corporations how to behave.

But according to libertarians, gaining power should not be an objective of government. What the government's objective should be depends on the type of libertarian with which you're speaking. ;)

GonzoTheGreat
05-05-2010, 04:18 AM
Simple. Libertarians, in addition to not liking the government meddling in their affairs, also don't like other people in general meddling either. That is why we acknowledge and support the existence of LIMITED government (notice it doesn't say non-existence as the delusion you seem to be laboring under assumes) actions such as law enforcement.You, sir, are a libertarian-lite. I wasn't talking about amateurs, I was speaking about those who take their libertarianism seriously. Those who object to the government's law enforcement on the grounds that any initiation of violence at all is unjustified. According to them, violence may only be used in self defense, when someone else attacks you.

I have to admit that I haven't seen that kind of libertarian for a couple of years now. There used to be a few on message boards that I visit, but they've disappeared during Bush junior's first term, and no new ones have turned up.
According to them, being arrested for refusing to pay taxes was already a violation of their rights. I know that's not how you feel, but then, you are no True Scotsman ... ehr ... no True Libertarian.

Sei'taer
05-05-2010, 09:19 AM
That's not all necessarily true, Gonzo. Here's a website I visit a lot that has helped me get a feel for my political philosophy. I'm not a libertarian, although I do have libertarian leanings in some areas.

Ivhon, I think this might answer some of your questions too. I invite you to look around and join in some of the discussions. It's enlightening.

Ludwig Von Mises Institute (http://mises.org/)

Here's a good definition that I had saved and I look at every once in a while when discussing property rights and such. It's long, but it's a good source for what libertarians believe and how they view the world.



What Libertarianism Is

Mises Daily: Friday, August 21, 2009 by Stephan Kinsella



Libertarians tend to agree on a wide array of policies and principles. Nonetheless, it is not easy to find consensus on what libertarianism's defining characteristic is, or on what distinguishes it from other political theories and systems.

Various formulations abound. It is said that libertarianism is about individual rights, property rights,[1] the free market, capitalism, justice, or the nonaggression principle. Not just any of these will do, however. Capitalism and the free market describe the catallactic conditions that arise or are permitted in a libertarian society, but do not encompass other aspects of libertarianism. And individual rights, justice, and aggression collapse into property rights. As Murray Rothbard explained, individual rights are property rights.[2] And justice is just giving someone his due, which depends on what his rights are.[3]

The nonaggression principle is also dependent on property rights, since what aggression is depends on what our (property) rights are. If you hit me, it is aggression because I have a property right in my body. If I take from you the apple you possess, this is trespass aggression only because you own the apple. One cannot identify an act of aggression without implicitly assigning a corresponding property right to the victim.

So capitalism and the free market are too narrow, and justice, individual rights, and aggression all boil down to, or are defined in terms of, property rights. What of property rights, then? Is this what differentiates libertarianism from other political philosophies that we favor property rights, and all others do not? Surely such a claim is untenable.

After all, a property right is simply the exclusive right to control a scarce resource.[4] Property rights specify which persons own that is, have the right to control various scarce resources in a given region or jurisdiction. Yet everyone and every political theory advance some theory of property. None of the various forms of socialism deny property rights; each version will specify an owner for every scarce resource.[5] If the state nationalizes an industry, it is asserting ownership of these means of production. If the state taxes you, it is implicitly asserting ownership of the funds taken. If my land is transferred to a private developer by eminent domain statutes, the developer is now the owner. If the law allows a recipient of racial discrimination to sue his employer for a sum of money, he is the owner of the money.[6]

Protection of and respect for property rights is thus not unique to libertarianism. What is distinctive about libertarianism is its particular property assignment rules: its view concerning who is the owner of each contestable resource, and how to determine this.

Property in Bodies
A system of property rights assigns a particular owner to every scarce resource. These resources obviously include natural resources such as land, fruits of trees, and so on. Objects found in nature are not the only scarce resources, however. Each human actor has, controls, and is identified and associated with a unique human body, which is also a scarce resource.[7] Both human bodies and nonhuman, scarce resources are desired for use as means by actors in the pursuit of various goals.

Accordingly, any political theory or system must assign ownership rights in human bodies as well as in external things. Let us consider first the libertarian property assignment rules with respect to human bodies, and the corresponding notion of aggression as it pertains to bodies. Libertarians often vigorously assert the "nonaggression principle." As Ayn Rand said, "So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate do you hear me? No man may start the use of physical force against others."[8] Or, as Rothbard put it:

The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the "nonaggression axiom." "Aggression" is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.[9]

In other words, libertarians maintain that the only way to violate rights is by initiating force that is, by committing aggression. (Libertarianism also holds that, while the initiation of force against another person's body is impermissible, force used in response to aggression such as defensive, restitutive, or retaliatory/punitive force is justified.)[10]

Now in the case of the body, it is clear what aggression is: invading the borders of someone's body, commonly called battery, or, more generally, using the body of another without his or her consent.[11] The very notion of interpersonal aggression presupposes property rights in bodies more particularly, that each person is, at least prima facie, the owner of his own body.[12]

Nonlibertarian political philosophies have a different view. Each person has some limited rights in his own body, but not complete or exclusive rights. Society or the state, purporting to be society's agent has certain rights in each citizen's body, too. This partial slavery is implicit in state actions and laws such as taxation, conscription, and drug prohibitions.

The libertarian says that each person is the full owner of his body: he has the right to control his body, to decide whether or not he ingests narcotics, joins an army, and so on. Those various nonlibertarians who endorse any such state prohibitions, however, necessarily maintain that the state, or society, is at least a partial owner of the body of those subject to such laws or even a complete owner in the case of conscriptees or nonaggressor "criminals" incarcerated for life. Libertarians believe in self-ownership. Nonlibertarians statists of all stripes advocate some form of slavery.

Self-ownership and Conflict-avoidance
Without property rights, there is always the possibility of conflict over contestable (scarce) resources. By assigning an owner to each resource, legal systems make possible conflict-free use of resources, by establishing visible boundaries that nonowners can avoid. Libertarianism does not endorse just any property assignment rule, however.[13] It favors self-ownership over other-ownership (slavery).

The libertarian seeks property assignment rules because he values or accepts various grundnorms such as justice, peace, prosperity, cooperation, conflict-avoidance, and civilization.[14] The libertarian view is that self-ownership is the only property assignment rule compatible with these grundorms; it is implied by them.

As Professor Hoppe has shown, the assignment of ownership to a given resource must not be random, arbitrary, particularistic, or biased, if it is actually to be a property norm that can serve the function of conflict-avoidance.[15] Property title has to be assigned to one of competing claimants based on "the existence of an objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between owner and the" resource claimed.[16] In the case of one's own body, it is the unique relationship between a person and his body his direct and immediate control over his body, and the fact that, at least in some sense, a body is a given person and vice versa that constitutes the objective link sufficient to give that person a claim to his body superior to typical third party claimants.

Moreover, any outsider who claims another's body cannot deny this objective link and its special status, since the outsider also necessarily presupposes this in his own case. This is so because, in seeking dominion over the other and in asserting ownership over the other's body, he has to presuppose his own ownership of his body. In so doing, the outsider demonstrates that he does place a certain significance on this link, even as (at the same time) he disregards the significance of the other's link to his own body.[17]

Libertarianism recognizes that only the self-ownership rule is universalizable and compatible with the goals of peace, cooperation, and conflict-avoidance. We recognize that each person is prima facie the owner of his own body because, by virtue of his unique link to and connection with his own body his direct and immediate control over it he has a better claim to it than anyone else.

Property in External Things
Libertarians apply similar reasoning in the case of other scarce resources namely, external objects in the world that, unlike bodies, were at one point unowned. In the case of bodies, the idea of aggression being impermissible immediately implies self-ownership. In the case of external objects, however, we must identify who the owner is before we can determine what constitutes aggression.

As in the case with bodies, humans need to be able to use external objects as means to achieve various ends. Because these things are scarce, there is also the potential for conflict. And, as in the case with bodies, libertarians favor assigning property rights so as to permit the peaceful, conflict-free, productive use of such resources. Thus, as in the case with bodies, property is assigned to the person with the best claim or link to a given scarce resource with the "best claim" standard based on the goals of permitting peaceful, conflict-free human interaction and use of resources.

Unlike human bodies, however, external objects are not parts of one's identity, are not directly controlled by one's will, and significantly they are initially unowned.[18] Here, the libertarian realizes that the relevant objective link is appropriation the transformation or embordering of a previously unowned resource, Lockean homesteading, the first use or possession of the thing.[19] Under this approach, the first (prior) user of a previously unowned thing has a prima facie better claim than a second (later) claimant, solely by virtue of his being earlier.

Why is appropriation the relevant link for determination of ownership? First, keep in mind that the question with respect to such scarce resources is: who is the resource's owner? Recall that ownership is the right to control, use, or possess,[20] while possession is actual control "the factual authority that a person exercises over a corporeal thing."[21] The question is not who has physical possession; it is who has ownership.

Thus, asking who is the owner of a resource presupposes a distinction between ownership and possession between the right to control, and actual control. And the answer has to take into account the nature of previously unowned things namely, that they must at some point become owned by a first owner.

The answer must also take into account the presupposed goals of those seeking this answer: rules that permit conflict-free use of resources. For this reason, the answer cannot be whoever has the resource or whoever is able to take it is its owner. To hold such a view is to adopt a might-makes-right system, where ownership collapses into possession for want of a distinction.[22] Such a system, far from avoiding conflict, makes conflict inevitable.[23]

Instead of a might-makes-right approach, from the insights noted above it is obvious that ownership presupposes the prior-later distinction: whoever any given system specifies as the owner of a resource, he has a better claim than latecomers.[24] If he does not, then he is not an owner, but merely the current user or possessor. If he is supposed an owner on the might-makes-right principle, in which there is no such thing as ownership, it contradicts the presuppositions of the inquiry itself. If the first owner does not have a better claim than latecomers, then he is not an owner, but merely a possessor, and there is no such thing as ownership.

More generally, latecomers' claims are inferior to those of prior possessors or claimants, who either homesteaded the resource or who can trace their title back to the homesteader or earlier owner.[25] The crucial importance of the prior-later distinction to libertarian theory is why Professor Hoppe repeatedly emphasizes it in his writing.[26]

Thus, the libertarian position on property rights is that, in order to permit conflict-free, productive use of scarce resources, property titles to particular resources are assigned to particular owners. As noted above, however, the title assignment must not be random, arbitrary, or particularistic; instead, it has to be assigned based on "the existence of an objective, intersubjectively ascertainable link between owner" and the resource claimed.[27] As can be seen from the considerations presented above, the link is the physical transformation or embordering of the original homesteader, or a chain of title traceable by contract back to him.[28]

Consistency and Principle
Not only libertarians are civilized. Most people give some weight to some of the above considerations. In their eyes, a person is the owner of his own body usually. A homesteader owns the resource he appropriates unless the state takes it from him "by operation of law."[29] This is the principal distinction between libertarians and nonlibertarians: Libertarians are consistently opposed to aggression, defined in terms of invasion of property borders, where property rights are understood to be assigned on the basis of self-ownership in the case of bodies. And in the case of other things, rights are understood on the basis of prior possession or homesteading and contractual transfer of title.

This framework for rights is motivated by the libertarian's consistent and principled valuing of peaceful interaction and cooperation in short, of civilized behavior. A parallel to the Misesian view of human action may be illuminating here. According to Mises, human action is aimed at alleviating some felt uneasiness.[30] Thus, means are employed, according to the actor's understanding of causal laws, to achieve various ends ultimately, the removal of uneasiness.

Civilized man feels uneasy at the prospect of violent struggles with others. On the one hand, he wants, for some practical reason, to control a given scarce resource and to use violence against another person, if necessary, to achieve this control. On the other hand, he also wants to avoid a wrongful use of force. Civilized man, for some reason, feels reluctance, uneasiness, at the prospect of violent interaction with his fellow man. Perhaps he has reluctance to violently clash with others over certain objects because he has empathy with them.[31] Perhaps the instinct to cooperate is a result of social evolution. As Mises noted,

There are people whose only aim is to improve the condition of their own ego. There are other people with whom awareness of the troubles of their fellow men causes as much uneasiness as or even more uneasiness than their own wants.[32]

Whatever the reason, because of this uneasiness, when there is the potential for violent conflict, the civilized man seeks justification for the forceful control of a scarce resource that he desires but which some other person opposes. Empathy or whatever spurs man to adopt the libertarian grundnorms gives rise to a certain form of uneasiness, which gives rise to ethical action.

Civilized man may be defined as he who seeks justification for the use of interpersonal violence. When the inevitable need to engage in violence arises for defense of life or property civilized man seeks justification. Naturally, since this justification-seeking is done by people who are inclined to reason and peace (justification is after all a peaceful activity that necessarily takes place during discourse),[33] what they seek are rules that are fair, potentially acceptable to all, grounded in the nature of things, and universalizable, and which permit conflict-free use of resources.


Libertarian property rights principles emerge as the only candidate that satisfies these criteria. Thus, if civilized man is he who seeks justification for the use of violence, the libertarian is he who is serious about this endeavor. He has a deep, principled, innate opposition to violence, and an equally deep commitment to peace and cooperation.

For the foregoing reasons, libertarianism may be said to be the political philosophy that consistently favors social rules aimed at promoting peace, prosperity, and cooperation.[34] It recognizes that the only rules that satisfy the civilized grundnorms are the self-ownership principle and the Lockean homesteading principle, applied as consistently as possible.

And as I have argued elsewhere, because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.[35]

GonzoTheGreat
05-05-2010, 10:49 AM
A question for libertarians: if a pair of Siamese twins have one heart between them, then which of them owns that?
In my view, that question shows a rather big problem with the "your body is your property" approach.

And as for the "first use gives you the best claim" approach: does that mean that if you dig a mine underneath someone else's ground, then you have the right to what you get out of it because you're the first to use those ores?

Still, Sei, I would want you to explain to me on what grounds a libertarian would claim that a government can take money (taxation) from a person who isn't willing to pay that.
As the quote you gave finished:
And as I have argued elsewhere, because the state necessarily commits aggression, the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.So a "consistent libertarian" is supposedly against any kind of government that can actually enforce anything.

Neilbert
05-05-2010, 10:54 AM
Libertarians apply similar reasoning in the case of other scarce resources namely, external objects in the world that, unlike bodies, were at one point unowned. In the case of bodies, the idea of aggression being impermissible immediately implies self-ownership. In the case of external objects, however, we must identify who the owner is before we can determine what constitutes aggression.

Private ownership of scarce resources is scary as hell. I'm in a rush, so I'll post more on it later, but we have billionaires buying up water rights like mad. How could you possibly think that's a good thing? With many resources private control makes absolutely no sense. It goes to whoever grabs it first is a horrible way for a society to allocate resources.

As Ayn Rand said, "So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate do you hear me? No man may start the use of physical force against others."

The only work of Rand I've read was Atlas Shrugged. Have you read it and what did you think of it?

Ivhon
05-05-2010, 10:59 AM
That's not all necessarily true, Gonzo. Here's a website I visit a lot that has helped me get a feel for my political philosophy. I'm not a libertarian, although I do have libertarian leanings in some areas.

Ivhon, I think this might answer some of your questions too. I invite you to look around and join in some of the discussions. It's enlightening.

Ludwig Von Mises Institute (http://mises.org/)

Here's a good definition that I had saved and I look at every once in a while when discussing property rights and such. It's long, but it's a good source for what libertarians believe and how they view the world.

Interesting read. Some of the points are quite valid. I take some exception to the dichotomous and hierarchical tone (i.e. If you don't think like this, you are for slavery, uncivilized, not dedicated to peace, etc.). I generally tend to take a very dim view of outlooks - and I recognize that this is just one person talking - that self-proclaim to be THE only way.

A couple of assumptions. One that money is part of the body (i.e. taxes are a violation of the person), not an external resource. Makes a big difference on who can be deemed to have first claim. Otherwise, I don't have a problem with the stance on property rights as applied to the person (no change in stance from me. Smoke what you want, eat what you want, marry who you want, etc.)

The section on external property rights (which I take to mean primarily "land" in this piece) is where the argument ultimately falls apart for me. By the argument of first claim and homesteading rights - we should all pack up and leave because we took, by force, ALL of this land and have claimed "ownership" of it based on possession. The very thing the passage decries. Same with Israel and probably any number of other places on the planet.

As for the bit about "justification," I find it to be a bit concerning. The implication is that justification is a peaceful process between civilized individuals. As has already been pointed out, there is the strong suggestion that if you do not subscribe to THIS view of the world, you are less civilized. As we can see historically in the development of "justification" of force, one of the first things done to "justify" force is to demote the "other" to lesser status - barbarians, uncivilized, heathens, heretics, infidels....un-Americans.

It is very easy to slip down the slope of thinking that civilized rules only apply when dealing with civilized peoples. And if the "other" is not civilized, then the rules of civilization no longer bind. Such as, perhaps, the "justification" for homesteaders to take the land of the "uncivilized" people who had first claim to it.

Sei'taer
05-05-2010, 11:11 AM
As I said earlier, I'm not a libertarian. I found an explanation of libertarianism a few years ago that I thought was a good explanation of what they believe. I use it as a reference to compare their ideals tothe ideals of other political groups. That's all it means to me. I posted it for Ivhon because he was asking a question that this particular item explained. I'm not going to argue it because I didn't write it and I'm not able to defend it because I'm not a "consistent" libertarian. Nice try on getting me into an argument, unfortunate that it won't work.

I've read Atlas Shrugged and hated it. Not sure what that has to do with anything....unless you were trying to do the same thing Gonzo was trying to do.

GonzoTheGreat
05-05-2010, 11:18 AM
Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, Ayn Rand wrote the Libertarian Manifesto and she called it Atlas Shrugged.

Sei'taer
05-05-2010, 12:08 PM
Wow. No shit? Thanks Gonzo! I read that whole piece of trash and never knew...I'm flabbergasted. I never knew the Communist Manifesto was about communism either. This Karl Marx guy must be an enlightened individual! Maybe he'll write another book soon.

fdsaf3
05-05-2010, 12:16 PM
Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, Ayn Rand wrote the Libertarian Manifesto and she called it Atlas Shrugged.

This is patently false. Ayn Rand hated that her political philosophy, Objectivism, became associated with the bastardized political ideology of Libertarianism. Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand's magnum opus describing her personal philosophy. It's not some radical call to arms or a book about how to start a Libertarian society like Marx's Communist Manifesto. The idea that Ayn Rand was in any way associated with the Libertarian political party is a common misconception, but it annoys me nonetheless. At least learn the basic facts, man. Libertarian is not synonymous with Objectivist.

Ok, good, I got that out of the way. And Neilbert, Atlas Shrugged is undoubtedly one of the most influential books I have ever read. It's not perfect (the grammar is especially grating at times), and it's quite a philosophy book. Don't get me wrong, there's a story in there. Somewhere beneath the cliched characters, contrived plot devices, and 60+ page diatribes (ok, there's only one of these) where Ayn Rand goes on and on about her philosophy. I'd suggest reading The Fountainhead over Atlas Shrugged. It's got her philosophy intertwined in the story, not punching you in the face. It's quite good.

Getting back to the main point of the thread, I personally find it frustrating when someone says "you're a libertarian, what do you think about X?" There are various subgroups within the libertarian movement, so saying all libertarians believe X is unrealistic.

My personal opinion is that companies make it really hard to read the small print. I have a friend in law school now, and once I asked him if it was justifiable for an all you can eat buffet to kick someone out for eating too much (based on someone I know in real life, not Homer Simpson). My friend said that the company probably has some fine print somewhere on their website which gives them the ability to kick someone out of their buffet for eating too much, and that so long as the fine print exists somewhere, the company is protected. I'm not a lawyer, so I could be misstating this. That's just what I got out of the conversation, at any rate.

My problem with sharing of information like this is that most often, people don't know what they are signing up for. I think companies should be able to trade information, but only if it was acquired without coercion or misleading. I'm more or less fine with corporations and business practices, but I do think businesses need to figure out how to maximize profit without acting unethically. I guess I'm not quite in the "the only ethical thing for a company to do is make money" camp.

Sinistrum
05-05-2010, 12:52 PM
fd, read the second link I posted. What you are describing are called contracts of adhesion, and they are very tough to enforce under contract law because a lot of times their terms can delve into unconscionability, which is a legal defense to a contract term being enforced.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-06-2010, 01:43 AM
But according to libertarians, gaining power should not be an objective of government. What the government's objective should be depends on the type of libertarian with which you're speaking. ;)

Nevertheless, gaining power IS the object of any government in the real world that we live in. Libertarians might believe that it shouldn't be. But currently it is and has been for millennia and frankly, I don't see it changing any time soon. The best that can plausibly be achieved, and already has been achieved is diminishing the maximum possible amount of power a government can have. By the use of the lovely system of democracy.

eliminating the thirst for power within a government is... likely to result in no government. No government is anarcy, and anarchy is bad. For everyone. Well, except for the ones with guns. Guns = power; and there we have a government again.

GonzoTheGreat
05-06-2010, 04:32 AM
Gaining power is not only something government strive for, gangster bosses also have that hobby. And, as yks points out, if there are no government forces to oppose the evil-doers, then the result won't be quite as pretty as the libertarians want to suggest it would be.

Matoyak
05-06-2010, 04:37 AM
Just from scanning this thread, it seems like Gonzo is using a "libertarian = anarchist" thing... and that's not a true ... thing.
Guh, I need sleep.

GonzoTheGreat
05-06-2010, 04:53 AM
Oh no, libertarians aren't as sensible as anarchists. They have basically the same idea, but the libertarians think that even without any power at all, government can still function properly.

fdsaf3
05-06-2010, 11:25 AM
Oh no, libertarians aren't as sensible as anarchists. They have basically the same idea, but the libertarians think that even without any power at all, government can still function properly.

The title of the thread ends in "not baiting". I suggest you keep that in mind and change your posting habits accordingly. It's really annoying to have someone post something to start an honest dialogue and have you come in and try to get an argument started. Not to mention that you've posted things which I can only assume you know to be misleading a few times. Let it go, man.

Sei'taer
05-06-2010, 05:01 PM
The title of the thread ends in "not baiting". I suggest you keep that in mind and change your posting habits accordingly. It's really annoying to have someone post something to start an honest dialogue and have you come in and try to get an argument started. Not to mention that you've posted things which I can only assume you know to be misleading a few times. Let it go, man.

FDS, Meet Gonzo, our resident troll. He has no life other than hating america and baiting Sini. Most of the time he's not very good at either one.

Sarevok
05-06-2010, 05:02 PM
FDS, Meet Gonzo, our resident troll. He has no life other than hating america and baiting Sini. Most of the time he's not very good at either one.

FWIW I think believe he hates the US. I'm sure he'd do the same on a Dutch forum.

Sinistrum
05-06-2010, 08:52 PM
fd, just ignore him. He's our resident Master Baiter. And he does it quite often. Can't imagine why. With a personality like his, I'm sure dating troubles must be the least of his worries. ;)